Smoking is injurious to health. Besides causing lung cancer, heart disease, etc, smoking is also responsible for causing hearing loss. The impact will occur both for direct or passive smoking.
A study conducted on 50,000 Japanese workers revealed that smokers are 60% more likely to develop high-frequency hearing loss than non-smokers. In addition to hearing loss, smoking is also linked with causing tinnitus, vertigo, and dizziness.
Here, we will discuss how smoking causes hearing loss and what you can do to quit.
How Smoking Affects Hearing?
When a person smokes, among other substances, nicotine and carbon monoxide enters the blood. Both of these compounds lower oxygen levels in the blood and constrict blood vessels.
When blood vessels in the inner ear don’t get enough oxygen and nutrients, the hair cells inner ear get damaged. These hair cells are responsible for receiving sound waves and translating them for the brain to understand. Therefore, a person starts to face difficulties in listening.
Other than that, cigarette smoke and nicotine cause the following complications:
- Interference with auditory nerve neurotransmitter
- Harming the lining of middle ear lining and Eustachian tube
- Initiating free radical release to damage DNA
- Developing noise-induced hearing loss
Other Hearing Problems Caused by Smoking
A systematic review concluded sufficient evidence exists that associates smoking with tinnitus. As smoking blocks blood flow to the inner ear, a person can experience buzzing or ringing sounds in the ears.
The review explains that smokers are more likely to develop tinnitus symptoms than non-smokers. However, no direct cause-and-effect relationship was established there. If this happens, you’ll need to get hearing aids for tinnitus.
Smoking causes ear infections for both adults and kids. Smoking makes the immune system weaker to fight off viruses and bacteria. Moreover, the tissues in the ears and throats get damaged due to smoking. As a result, bacteria and viruses can affect those areas to cause infection.
The children are more at risk due to passive smoking. Children already pose a higher risk of ear infections, and passive smoking only increases it. Other than ear infections, children can develop asthma, respiratory infections as well.
A middle ear infection can cause a child to lose hearing abilities.
Hearing Loss for Infants
Studies have shown a significant risk of children developing hearing loss if the mother smokes during pregnancy. The children can be at an increased risk of developing hearing loss in their teens or later years.
Preventing Smoking-Related Hearing Loss
To prevent smoking-related hearing loss, quitting smoking is the first necessary thing. Smoking causes serious health problems in multiple body parts. Moreover, people can be badly affected by passive smoking as well.
One can experience the benefits of quitting smoking within twenty minutes. After eight hours of avoiding smoking, your body restores the carbon monoxide and oxygen levels. Within 2 days, you will find your smell and taste senses elevated.
Another important thing is to prohibit smoking in public areas. It lowers the risk of passive smoking and harming non-smokers.
It’s not possible to reverse any hearing damages caused by smoking. However, you can reduce the risk of further nicotine-related damage by stopping smoking. Additionally, you reduce the risks of lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory system-related diseases once you give up cigarettes.
How to Quit Smoking
You will need a strong mindset if you want to quit smoking. So, the first important thing is to find the reason to motivate you to stop. Most people consider the well-being of their family and loved ones in consideration for quitting.
After you have made up your mind, choose a day from when you are going to stop. Your quitting day should be as soon as possible. If you delay, you may not be as motivated as the time you decided to stop. The best time to quit is right now.
If you cannot quit smoking at once, you can do it gradually as well. Set a quitting date and cut down to half the amount of cigarettes at first. Keep decreasing the amount and stop completely on your quitting day.
If you use vapes, count how many puffs you usually take. Then cut the number of puffs and stop at your quitting day.
Once you stop smoking, your body will show signs of nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Consult your doctor if you need any medication to manage the symptoms. Enduring this withdrawal period is very crucial. Once you pass the withdrawal time, it becomes easier to stay without smoking.
You can keep light snacks like popcorns, nuts, and seeds available near you to keep your mouth busy when smoking urges appear. You can also use mints or sugar-free chewing gums.
Hearing loss brings out bad consequences for any individual. So, for the sake of your hearing health, you should stop smoking. It will help you to maintain your hearing health along with other chronic diseases.
If you find any symptoms of hearing loss, make sure to consult a doctor immediately. If the doctor suggests using hearing aids, make sure to use the device regularly. Also, try your best to stop smoking for you and your close ones’ better health.