Smokers and passive smokers more likely to suffer hearing loss, study shows

May 29, 2014, University of Manchester
Credit: Vera Kratochvil/public domain

Giving up or reducing smoking and avoiding passive exposure to tobacco smoke may reduce your risk of hearing loss, new research shows.

Current have a 15.1% higher odds of than non-smokers The University of Manchester study, funded by Action on Hearing Loss, Medical Research Council and the National Institute for Health Research, found.

Passive smoking also increased the likelihood of hearing loss by 28%.

But ex-smokers had a slightly reduced risk of going deaf - which may be because once they quit they adopt a more healthy life style overall.

The study is published in the Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology today.

Researchers looked at 164,770 UK adults aged 40 to 69 years of age who took hearing tests between 2007 and 2010 when they joined UK Biobank, a national project to improve health.

Dr Piers Dawes, from the Centre for Human Communication and Deafness at The University of Manchester who led the research, said: "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.

"We found the more packets you smoke per week and the longer you smoke, the greater the risk you will damage your hearing."

The link between smoking and hearing loss is still unclear but many smokers also often had heart disease.

Dr Dawes added: "We are not sure if toxins in affect hearing directly, or whether smoking-related cardiovascular disease causes microvascular changes that impact on hearing, or both."

The increased risk among passive smokers - higher than that for smokers - could be because smokers were compared to both complete non-smokers and passive non-smokers but passive smokers were only compared to non-smokers.

This means the association with smoking and hearing loss maybe under estimated, the researchers say.

Dr Ralph Holme, Head of Biomedical Research at Action on Hearing Loss, said "Hearing loss affects 10 million people in the UK and with an aging population is set to become a major public health issue.

"Hearing loss is often viewed as an inevitable consequence of aging, but as the research published today shows, this may not always be the case. Giving up and protecting your ears from loud noise are two practical steps people can take today to prevent hearing loss later in life."

Explore further: Fetal exposure to tobacco smoke tied to hearing loss in teens

More information: "Cigarette smoking, passive smoking, alcohol consumption and hearing loss" is published in the Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, Thursday 29 May 2014.

Related Stories

Fetal exposure to tobacco smoke tied to hearing loss in teens

June 20, 2013
(HealthDay)—Add another hazard to the long list of reasons not to smoke during pregnancy: Children exposed to tobacco smoke in the womb may be at higher risk for hearing loss.

Implanted hearing device approved

March 20, 2014
(HealthDay)—The first implantable device for adults with a severe or profound form of a condition called "sensorineural hearing loss" has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Only one fifth of people with hearing problems wear a hearing aid

March 18, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Just a fifth of people with hearing problems wear a hearing aid, a study by The University of Manchester has found.

Hearing aid use in children with mild loss improves speech

April 6, 2014
(HealthDay)—The level of hearing improvement achieved by hearing aid (HA) use in children correlates with better speech and language development, according to a study published online April 3 in JAMA Otolaryngology.

Professional musicians run almost fourfold risk of noise induced deafness

April 30, 2014
Professional musicians are almost four times as likely to develop noise induced hearing loss as the general public, reveals research published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Recommended for you

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Study reveals what sleep talkers have to say

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in France has conducted a study regarding sleep talking and has found that most sleep talking is not only negative in nature, but involves a large amount of swearing. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.