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Passive Smoking Linked to Hearing Loss

Date: Tuesday 4th May, 2021

Let's take a look at the facts...

Smoking is a personal choice that adults make. It is a life-changing decision that will affect your health however; some people don’t have an option in the matter when it comes to passive smoking.

Being exposed to second-hand smoke is generally unpleasant but according to a recent survey, your hearing could be affected.

Findings by the University of Miami and Florida International University, which were published in the journal Tobacco Control, reveal that hearing loss has been linked to passive smoking.

Health experts have already proven that those who smoke risk damaging their hearing, but now it has been discovered that people exposed to second-hand smoke are also in danger of losing their hearing. People who are subjected to smoke from other people’s cigarettes increased their risk of hearing loss by a third.

Dr Ralphe Holme, Head of Biomedical Research at the charity Action on Hearing Loss, the trading name of the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID), said that the issue needs to be quickly addressed.

He added:  “Before you next light up a cigarette, consider how it could impact not only on your own long-term hearing but your friends’ and relatives’ too.”

How does smoking damage hearing?

Tobacco interrupts the blood flow in the vessels in the ear. This starves the organ of much-needed oxygen and as a result, toxic waste starts to build-up. This is what causes your hearing to deteriorate.

How was the study conducted?

Over 3,000 non-smoking American adults were involved in the study. Some had never smoked in their lifetime, others had smoked beforehand but had quit. The volunteers’ blood was examined for a by-product of nicotine, called cotinine, which is created when the body comes into contact with tobacco.

At present there has been no clarification on how much smoke you need to be exposed to, to be at risk however the threshold is low. The safest level, according to Dr David Fabry, who led the research, is no contact whatsoever. 

Author: Paul Harrison

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