The negative side effects of smoking are numerous: cancer, decreased cardiovascular health, and poor oral health. You might not know that smoking has also been shown to cause hearing loss.
We know the decision to quit is not an easy one. But, the array of negative side effects that can be caused by the habit make quitting a worthwhile decision.
The Connection Between Smoking and Hearing Loss
Smokers are 70 percent more likely to suffer from hearing loss than nonsmokers. Researchers theorize that the main way smoking affects the ears is through the cardiovascular system. We fondly refer to the ear as the window to the heart. This is because the cardiovascular system is so intricately connected to the ear.
The tiny vessels that make up the inner ear directly reflect the health of the heart. In people who smoke, the blood supply to the ears is reduced. This causes the cells in the ear to die–because they don’t receive the necessary amounts of blood that they need.
The other way smoking can impact hearing is through lifestyle. Smoking is rarely an isolated instance. Instead, it’s often associated with unhealthy lifestyle patterns: lack of exercise, poor diet, and consumption of alcohol to name a few.
The Effect of Secondhand Smoke on Others
The decision to quit doesn’t just affect the individual. Choosing not to smoke can reap positive benefits for others. The research conducted on smoking and hearing loss also shows that secondhand smoke can have just as negative of an impact on hearing as smoke that comes firsthand.
Think about the number of people exposed when someone chooses to smoke. Each of them is greatly benefited when a smoker chooses not to smoke. It is not a solitary decision, but one that affects many.
The Good News
For people who quit smoking, the risk for hearing loss is not as high. Quitting smoking is also often associated with healthier lifestyle choices, such as proper nutrition, exercise, good rest, and limited consumption of alcohol.
The reasons to quit smoking are innumerable. Protecting your hearing is just one of them. If you are struggling to quit, there are resources available to you. Please contact us with any questions you might have!
If you are a smoker, your hearing could be at risk. Schedule a complimentary consultation to assess your hearing needs. We can determine your level of hearing, whether or not you need a hearing aid, and which one best meets your needs.
Cornerstone Audiology serves Lubbock, TX, and its surrounding areas as a hearing aid provider with two certified audiologists and was recently named Best Hearing Aid Provider for Best of the West 2015. Our team offers compassionate, skilled care to help you find the hearing aids that best meets your needs. We partner with world-leading manufacturers including ReSound, Starkey, Sonic, Oticon, Signia, and Widex WS Audiology A/S. To learn more about how we can help with your hearing loss or tinnitus, contact us for a free consultation.