January 18th, 2016 | General | by Andreas Seelisch

Smoking Less Could Decrease Your Risk of Hearing Loss

Research has shown that people who smoke cigarettes may increase their risk of hearing loss. The risk to those inhaling second-hand smoke goes up two-fold.

But what does the research say about decreasing those smoke breaks?

In a study conducted by The University of Manchester in the UK, smokers were found to have just over a 15% risk of hearing loss. For passive smokers that number jumped to 28%.

The “Quitters” were found to have a slightly reduced risk of hearing loss. Researchers speculate that reduced risk may be because ex-smokers often develop a more health conscious lifestyle.

UK Smoking and hearing loss conclusions

The study published in the Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, looked at over 164,000 people between the ages of 40 and 69.

Lead researcher, Dr. Piers Dawes from the Centre for Human Communication and Deafness at The University of Manchester says “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. Piers and his team also found that many of their subjects that smoked, also had heart disease, which has also been long linked to hearing loss.

Smoking contributes to lack of oxygen

It’s thought smoking may reduce oxygen-rich blood from flowing to the inner ear and to organs in the rest of the body. This lack of oxygen can lead to tissue damage, causing permanent hearing loss.

National Non-Smoking Week

This year’s theme for National Non-Smoking Week, running from January 17 to 23, is “Quitting takes practice…practice often.”

Established in 1977 by the Canadian Council for Tobacco Control (CCTC), the organization says that the average smoker attempts to quit at least 7 times before achieving success.

So, don’t be discouraged if quitting and trying to live a healthier lifestyle doesn’t work the first, second or even third time.

The first 8 hours

One great fact the CCTC points out is that “8 hours after your last cigarette, your body starts to heal.” Maybe that’s the first milestone, trying to be smoke-free for 8 hours.

If you need more help there are many resources available to you, including a Smoker’s Helpline at 1-800-363-5864. You may even speak with your family physician about your options.

Finding out if you have a hearing loss can be done with a simple, painless, non-invasive hearing test at your local hearing loss treatment clinic, administered by an Audiologist or Hearing Instrument Specialist.

Be in control of your health.

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