Why Smoking Causes Hearing Loss
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|Sun, 11-14-2010 - 11:48am|
Researchers know there's a correlation between smoking and hearing loss but the cause and effect has yet to be determined. According to a report by Dr. Bharti Katbamana published on AudiologyOnline in 2008, there are three main theories why smokers substantially increase the likelihood of hearing loss:
- The first theory is that it may be related to hypoxia (lack of oxygen) - nicotine and carbon monoxide from cigarettes may actually deplete oxygen levels to the cochlea which is bathed in fluids and blood supply. Like any part of the body, if oxygen is depleted tissue damage can occur.
- The second theory is related to the interaction between nicotine and neurotransmitters in the auditory (hearing) nerve. Neurotransmitters essentially function as chemical messengers and if impaired they would no longer be able to properly tell the brain what is occurring along the hearing nerve.
- Lastly the third suspected theory is related to adolescent smoking. Studies have shown mechanisms within the hearing nerve are not fully developed until late adolescents; thus the hearing nerve pathways are particularly susceptible to damage, if environmental toxins like nicotine are introduced during the early adolescent years.
While scientists continue to find the definitive relationship between hearing loss and tobacco use, studies that go back to the last century show a clear relationship between hearing loss and tobacco use. And the earlier tobacco use begins, the more damage is done over the years.
Cigarette smoking and other tobacco use, when coupled with the noisy environment in which people live (it's a noisy world!) will create a generation of people who lose the ability to hear earlier in life according to long-tested, proven documentation.
So, if you're not a smoker, don't start. And, regardless of age, if you are a smoker, by all means, consider quitting. The CDC is hopeful that the enactment of the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act will provide further opportunities to reduce tobacco use.
Yes, you may have caused more damage to your hearing because you have smoked for years but by quitting, you can lessen the amount of damage that occurs in the future. Not only will your ears thank you but your entire body will!
Kick butt. Hear better.
(taken from healthyhearing.com)