There are a myriad reasons to quit smoking, many of which come back to improving your health. One of the least discussed, but most important, reasons to quit smoking is that it can have a negative impact on your hearing health, and can lead to hearing loss.
This is according to an article called 'Cigarette smoking and hearing loss' published on Hear-it.org*. The research highlights a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association in 1998, which claims smokers are almost 70 per cent more likely to suffer hearing loss than non-smokers are. However, the article also highlights another study, carried out by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which found nothing to suggest hearing loss was caused by smoking*. So which is true?
The first study focused on more than 3,000 participants, finding hearing impairment risks increased with the number of cigarettes smoked*. As the intensity and duration of exposure to cigarette smoke increases, so too do hearing problems*, with heavy smokers experiencing the most problems. According to this research, smokers aren't the only ones whose hearing suffers due to cigarette smoke. Non-smokers exposed to smoke are more likely to experience hearing problems compared to non-smokers not living with anyone with the habit, according to the research commented on by Hear-it*.
However, the University of Wisconson-Madison refutes the claims that smoking can cause hearing loss. Despite these mixed findings, it is commonly accepted that exposure cigarette smoke can lead to significant health problems, so do you want to take the risk?
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*Hear-it, Cigarette smoking and hearing loss, Accessed February 4, 2015. Available here.