Researchers at the University of Manchester have found that smokers have a 15.1% higher chance of hearing loss than non smokers, and the likelihood of passive smokers developing hearing loss increased by 28%.
These findings were published in the Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology today after the study looked at 164, 770 participant hearing tests from the UK Biobank resource.
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 is still unclear as many of the smokers also had heart disease.
Dr Dawes added: “We are not sure if toxins in tobacco smoke affect hearing directly, or whether smoking-related cardiovascular disease causes microvascular changes that impact on hearing, or both.”
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 ageing population is set to become a major public health issue.
“Hearing loss is often viewed as an inevitable consequence of ageing, but as the research published today shows, this may not always be the case. Giving up smoking and protecting your ears from loud noise are two practical steps people can take today to prevent hearing loss later in life.”
View the published paper HERE