Smoking And Hearing Loss
May 31 is the World Health Organisation’s “ No tobacco day’.
In addition to a long list of negative health effects and reduction in overall health and wellbeing, smoking can be forerunner for hearing loss. Smokers are 70% more likely to have a hearing loss compared to non-smokers. Many of the substances inhaled in a puff of cigarette smoke are ototoxic. Ototoxic chemicals are chemicals that have a toxic effect on the ear and balance system. Smoking can lead to hearing loss, tinnitus and balance problems. The prevalence of hearing loss in smokers is related to the dose of cigarette smoke; more smoking the higher the incidence and degree of hearing loss.
How cigarette smoke affects hearing:
• Nicotine and carbon monoxide restricts blood flow to the tiny and delicate blood supply of the inner ear causing damage to the cochlear hair cells, these hair cells that are responsible for detecting sounds
• Nicotine interferes with messenger systems along the auditory nerves
• Smoking irritates the Eustachian tube and lining of the middle ear creating middle ear issues
• Smoking causes release of free radicals in the body
• Smoking can make you more susceptible to the effects of damage to the inner ear by loud noise. Smokers are more susceptible to getting noise induced hearing loss
If you are a smoker and concerned about your ears, please arrange to have your hearing assessed. Hearing loss can impact communication, relationships, productivity and advancement at work.
Are you ready to stop smoking?