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Smoking and Hearing Loss

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Smoking is a habit that has a negative impact on many different aspects of health. It is well known that smoking is linked to the development of cancer in various different organs, as well as increasing the risk of coronary heart disease, heart attacks , strokes and more, however smoking is also linked with hearing loss. 

A recent study in January 2022 found links between smoking and hearing problems. This study looked at patterns of hearing loss over a 30 year period in groups of non or former smokers, smokers who quit during the study and smokers who continued to smoke. Those who didn’t quit at any point scored poorly on hearing tests.

How does smoking affect your hearing? 

Nicotine and carbon monoxide lower your oxygen blood levels and constrict blood vessels throughout your body, including those in your inner ear. Nicotine and cigarette smoke are thought to affect your hearing by:

  • Interferring with neurotransmitters in the auditory nerve. These are responsible for telling the brain what you are hearing. 
  • Irritating the Eustachian tube and the middle ear lining.
  • Triggering the release of free radicals that can cause disease and damage DNA.
  • Making you sensitive to loud noises and more susceptible to developing noise induced hearing loss. 
  • Causing tinnitus, dizziness, and vertigo.

Smoking also has a strong link to ear infections as smoking weakens the immune systems and causes damage to the tissues in the nose and throat. Children are at higher risk of developing ear infections because if their ear anatomy. If a child is exposed to second hand smoke, this risk is even higher.

Stopping smoking will benefit your health in so many ways including your hearing health. If you have any concerns about your hearing, and hearing loss contact us today and speak to one of our audiologists.


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