Smoking Can Increase The Risk Of Going Deaf By 60 Percent

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Smoking has many negative health effects that range from cancer to death, now there's another that smokers have to look out for. Smoking can lead to people becoming deaf.  ( Alan Crowhurst | Getty Images )

Add deafness to the list of the ways that smoking hurts healthy people. A new study shows that there may be an increased risk of going deaf due to smoking. Giving up smoking can also help cut those chances down.

Deafness joins a list of adverse health effects that are caused by smoking.

Hearing Loss

A Japanese research team found that smokers have a higher risk to develop hearing loss than those that are non-smokers. This risk is increased with every additional cigarette that is smoked on an everyday basis.

Data was gathered from 50,000 workers between the ages of 20 to 64 who had not suffered from hearing loss. Participants were tracked for up to eight years. Through the study, more than 5,100 people developed hearing loss.

The longer that a person smokes, the higher they are at risk for developing for high frequency and low-frequency hearing loss. Quitting smoking almost totally eliminates the chances of developing hearing loss. The risks are increased by the number of cigarettes that are smoked, according to the lead author of the study, Huanhuan Hu, who spoke to Reuters.

He also added that nicotine exposure may be harmful to the ears. The study didn't set out to prove a link between hearing loss and smoking, but makes a case that it contributes to it. It shows that the more a person continues to smoke, the higher the chances of hearing loss become.

Those that smoke up to 10 cigarettes per day were 40 percent more likely to develop high-frequency hearing loss and 10 percent more likely to develop low-frequency hearing loss. Smokers that used 11 to 20 cigarettes per day were 60 percent more like to develop high-frequency hearing loss and 20 percent more likely to develop low-frequency hearing loss. Participants who smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day were 70 percent more likely to develop high-frequency hearing loss and 40 percent more likely to develop low-frequency hearing loss.

Participants In The Study

Most of the participants in the study were in their 40s, and 21,000 of them had never smoked. About 19,000 of them were smokers and 9,800 were former smokers. Those who were current smokers were more likely to be overweight or obese and have chronic health problems such as diabetes and be in jobs with high levels of noise.

Participants had to take comprehensive hearing tests each year during the study.

Some of the limitations of the study include the problems with counting on participants to accurately report their own smoking habits.

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