New research on passive smoking & hearing loss
Article by Cochlear Australia
If everyone thought passive smoking wasn’t dangerous and damaging enough, new research suggests that prolonged exposure to second hand smoke can also cause ear damage and hearing loss. A new report conducted by researchers from the University of Miami, the International University of Florida, and Starkey Laboratories, a hearing technology company, has provided strong evidence pointing towards a link between passive smoke and hearing damage.Passive smoking has already been known to cause hearing loss in children, but this is one of the first studies to offer strong evidence to suggest that adults who breathe in second hand smoke are at a higher risk of developing hearing problems than those who do not.In the study, 3,307 adults aged between 20 and 69, who were considered passive smokers according to the levels of cotinine – a compound produced when the body comes into contact with tobacco smoke – in their blood, underwent hearing tests, and gave information on their medical history, average level of exposure to noise, and whether they themselves had smoked or lived or worked with a smoker. The degree of hearing loss in each ear was assessed by testing their ability to hear tones over a range of frequencies from low to high.Passive smokers were found to have impaired abilities to hear higher-frequency sounds, and the researchers concluded that former smokers as well as passive smokers were both connected to impaired hearing, with former smokers significantly more affected.Experts believe that the cause for this hearing damage is that tobacco smoke may disrupt blood flow in the small vessels of the ear, starving the organ of oxygen and leading to a build up of toxic, damage-causing waste in the ear. Hearing problems of this kind are irreversible, and worsen as the person is continually exposed to tobacco smoke.In light of recent findings, experts are urging that it is imperative that smokers be conscious and considerate of those around them when lighting up, as it could have adverse affects on all aspects their health, and the wellbeing of those around them.
Cochlear Australia is a leading provider of most advanced hearing loss solutions for adults and children with moderate to profound hearing loss. For more information on hearing implants, visit http://www.cochlear.com/au.