For years now, many people have found smoking to be a relaxing pastime. As of 2016, according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), 37.8 million people in the U.S. make smoking a regular habit. While smoking is a common practice, that doesn’t mean its a healthy one: 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease, and 1 in 5 Americans die from smoking-related causes.
If you smoke cigarettes and are also experiencing hearing loss, did you know that the two could be connected? Here are some of the reasons why smoking can impact your hearing.
How Does Smoking Impact Your Overall Health?
As mentioned, roughly 1 in 5 Americans die as a result of smoking, making smoking the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Unfortunately, as noted by the CDC, smoking impacts young people too: Secondhand smoke has been known to cause infant death syndrome, respiratory infections, and more, while 3.9 million middle school and high school students partake in smoking themselves.
But why does smoking so often lead to death?
The National Institute of Health explains that smoking has the potential to affect almost every organ in your body. By smoking, you can damage your brain, heart, lungs, DNA, immune system, muscles, bones, physical appearance, and more. Some of the impacts of smoking are immediate, while some take many years, but the sooner you stop smoking, the sooner you can halt its potential to negatively impact your well-being.
What is the Link between Smoking and Hearing Loss?
The connection between smoking and hearing loss has been debated for many years, but recently, researchers have been finding more evidence to support this link. In 2005, Preventive Medicine published a study in which researchers extensively reviewed 166 pre-existing studies to determine if smoking is, in fact, a risk factor for hearing loss. Findings revealed a positive relationship between smoking and hearing loss, which suggests that refraining from cigarettes may be helpful for your hearing health.
More recent research exposed that, even after you stop smoking, your ability to hear may still be negatively impacted. In 2014, the Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology published a study evaluating the connection between current and passive smoking and hearing loss. The results showed that current smokers were more likely to have hearing loss than non-smokers. Likewise, passive smokers were also more likely to have hearing loss than non-smokers.
Smoking can also exacerbate certain forms of hearing loss, namely noise-induced hearing loss. In 2005, Clinical Otolaryngology published a study that explored if smoking played a role in the hearing of employees exposed to dangerous sound levels. 30 employees who were long-term smokers were then compared to a control group of 58 employees who did not smoke. As a result, those who smoked were found to be at a greater risk of developing permanent, noise-induced hearing loss.
What Can You Do About Hearing Loss?
Even after you choose to stop smoking, you may still have to face the consequences, like hearing loss. On the bright side, smoking most often leads to high frequency hearing loss, the most common form of hearing loss, which our hearing aids are pre-programmed to address.
For more information on how to deal with your hearing loss, check out: