Smoke and Hearing Loss

 Smokers and passive smokers suffer an increased risk of hearing loss, a new study reveals.

It is a well-known fact that smokers cause intense damage to their health. Researchers at the University of Manchester have presented an additional risk associated with breathing tobacco smoke that of hearing loss.

On analysing 164,770 U.K. adults aged 40 to 69, who participated in a hearing test between 2007 and 2010, the researchers observed that smokers had a 15.1 percent risk of hearing loss compared to non-smokers. The risk of going deaf was higher among the passive smokers, 28 percent.

The participants were a part of a national project, UK Biobank.  The researchers noticed that the risk of hearing loss was less among ex-smokers. The reduced risk of hearing loss may be because these people adhere to a healthier lifestyle on kicking the butt.

Dr Piers Dawes, from the Centre for Human Communication and Deafness at the University of Manchester who led the research, said, “Given around 20 percent of the UK population smoke and up to 60 percent in some countries, smoking may represent a significant cause of hearing loss worldwide. We found the more packets you smoke per week and the longer you smoke, the greater the risk you will damage your hearing.”

Though the association between smoking and hearing loss remains unclear, most  smokers often experience heart diseases.

It is still not evident whether it if the toxins in tobacco that disrupts the hearing ability directly or whether it is the smoking related cardiovascular disease that triggers microvascular alterations that impact hearing ability or both.

The risk of going deaf is high in passive smokers may be because the smokers were compared to both complete non-smokers and passive non-smokers. Whereas the passive smokers were just compared to the non-smokers, indicating that the link between smoking and hearing loss may be under estimated.

Dr Ralph Holme, Head of Biomedical Research at Action on Hearing Loss, said “Hearing loss affects 10 million people in the UK and with an aging population is set to become a major public health issue. Hearing loss is often viewed as an inevitable consequence of aging, but as the research published today shows, this may not always be the case. Giving up smoking and protecting your ears from loud noise are two practical steps people can take today to prevent hearing loss later in life.”

Benita Matilda 
First Posted: Jun 07, 2014 03:26 AM EDT in SCIENCE WORLD REPORT

The finding appears in the journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology.

Here is the link to the entire article:

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