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Hearing Health and Smoking

Is Tobacco Usage a Potential Cause of Hearing Loss?

One key habit that scientists have found increases risk of hearing loss is smoking. Regardless of how you do it, smoking can cause permanent hearing loss. How is this possible?

How Does Tobacco Affect Hearing?

Recent studies show that those who smoke increase their risk of developing hearing loss by up to 70%. Even non-smokers who live with a smoker are twice as likely to develop hearing loss. There are links between a person's severity of hearing loss and the number of cigarettes they smoke in a day. The more that you smoke, the more likely you're going to develop moderate to severe hearing loss.

What are the Culprits Behind Tobacco-Related Hearing Loss?

Researchers have identified a few reasons why tobacco causes hearing loss. These include:

  • Eustachian Tube - Studies show that smoking can lead to problems and blockages in the eustachian tube. This tube is the link between the middle ear and the back of the throat. When blockages develop, the body is unable to equalize pressure in the ear. This can lead to hearing loss.
  • Blood Pressure - Your ability to hear relies on your body's ability to deliver a fresh supply of blood to your inner ear. Smoking can cause blood pressure to rise. This reduces the amount of fresh, oxygen-rich blood that makes it to your inner ear hair follicles. This reduces their ability to intake and process sound.
  • Neurotransmitters - Nicotine interferes with your body's ability to regulate a key neurotransmitter. This neurotransmitter transports sound information from the ears to the brain. When your brain doesn't get all the sounds delivered, it can make it more difficult to understand.
  • Central Nervous System - The central nervous system of children can experience growth defects due to toxins. Even secondhand smoke can penetrate the body. This can cause developmental defects in the central nervous system that affects hearing.

Stop Smoking and Seek Treatment

No one wants to lose their ability to hear the world around them. If you currently smoke, it's time to think about giving it up. If you don't, you should avoid secondhand smoke as much as possible. As soon as you notice any issues with your hearing, you should have an audiologist test their hearing. The sooner you can get your hearing evaluated, the less of an impact it will have on your mental health.

Call Us Today

If you've noticed that you have trouble hearing, it's time to give us a call. Let our licensed hearing care professionals check your hearing. We can provide you with effective treatment recommendations.