Giving up or reducing smoking and avoiding passive exposure to tobacco smoke may reduce your risk of hearing loss, as research points to the fact that smokers and passive smokers are more likely to suffer from hearing loss.
“We found that the more packets you smoke per week and the longer you smoke, the greater the risk you will damage your hearing,” explains lead researcher Dr. Piers Dawes from the Centre of Human Communication and Deafness at The University of Manchester in the UK.
Quit smoking and reduce the risk
Based on data from the UK-Biobank, researchers analyzed data from 164,770 UK adults aged 40-69 who took hearing tests between 2007 and 2010. The study found that current smokers have a 15.1% higher risk of hearing loss than non-smokers.
The study also found that ex-smokers had a slightly reduced risk of hearing loss. The researchers suggest that this may be because once one quits smoking, one is more likely to adopt a more healthy life style overall.
Significant cause of hearing loss
“Given around 20% of the UK population smoke – and up to 60% in some countries – smoking may represent a significant cause of hearing loss worldwide,” says Dr. Dawes.
Despite the study results, the link between smoking and hearing loss is still unclear. “We are not sure if toxins in tobacco smoke affect hearing directly, whether smoking-related cardiovascular disease causes microvascular changes that impact hearing or both,” he says.