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August 12, 2013

Cigarette smoking may increase the risk of hearing loss

Smokers have a higher risk of developing a hearing loss than non-smokers with a similar noise exposure.

Cigarette smoking may increase the risk of hearing loss

Intense exposure to a high noise level, combined with cigarette smoking, augments the risk of developing a hearing loss, according to a Chinese study from Peking University.

More specifically, the study concluded that smoking has a negative effect on people exposed to excessive noise levels for 10 years or more.

517 workers were monitored

The study assessed 517 male Chinese workers who were exposed to a high level of industrial noise on a daily basis. 60% of the workforces were smokers, while 40% were non-smokers.

All of the examined workers had been exposed to high levels of industrial noise ranging from 80-118 decibels (dB) during at least a year. This noise level is well above the daily exposure to noise of less than 85 dB that many countries recommend.

Smoking workers should be protected

The results of the report present yet another argument to consider stopping smoking. But it also suggests that employees who smoke could be moved from high to low noise level environments.

If there is a link between cigarette smoking and high-level noise exposure, this action could thus help reduce the risk of developing a noise-induced hearing loss.

However, before a final conclusion can be made about the effect of smoking on hearing loss, a study of a greater number of workers is needed with well-documented noise exposure and smoking histories.

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