A recent Japanese study in Nicotine and Tobacco Research, of over 50,000 participants revealed that cigarette smokers have an increased risk of hearing loss compared to nonsmokers. Participants of the study included current smokers, former smokers and people who have never smoked. Each year of the 8-year study, participants took comprehensive hearing tests which also showed that the risk of hearing loss also increased with each additional cigarette smoked in a typical day.
Smoking has a higher impact on high-frequency hearing loss than on low-frequency hearing loss. High-frequency hearing loss affects the ability to hear high-pitched sounds like the microwave beeping, birds chirping, and in speech, consonants like s, h, and f. Though the risk for both frequency-related hearing losses increased with smoking, smokers were 60% more likely to develop high-frequency hearing loss and only 20% more likely to develop low-frequency hearing loss, than nonsmokers. Those risks increased by 10% and 20% for those who had more than 20 cigarettes per day.
The best way for smokers to avoid excessive hearing loss and many other health risks is to stop smoking. Study findings showed that the increased risk of hearing loss decreased within 5 years for study participants who stopped smoking. For people who cannot stop smoking, they can lower the heightened risk of excessive hearing loss linked to smoking by decreasing the number of cigarettes they smoke.
If you are a smoker or former smoker and are experiencing symptoms related to hearing loss, contact New Generation Hearing Centers today for a free consultation.