The American Cancer Society has a Great American Smokeout day to help you plan to quit smoking or encourage those around you to kick the habit. While they provide help for you or others to quit, we want you to know a major reason you should quit smoking is due to the link between smoking and hearing loss.
Respiratory problems, cancer, and heart disease are linked to a lifetime of smoking, as most people may know. However, while most people think hearing loss is mainly due to noise exposure or advanced age, there is also a major link to smoking. Hearing loss occurs in 70 percent of smokers over non-smokers, according to a study done by the Journal of the American Medical Association. Your health, along with your hearing, is damaged progressively more the longer you smoke. Those people close to you are also affected. Second-hand smoke is almost twice as likely to cause hearing loss, according to research. Although smoking is dangerous, almost 36.5 million adults in the United States smoke and 16 million Americans have a smoking-related condition.
Cigarettes and 5 Ototoxic Chemicals
Any substance harmful to the ear is ototoxic. Cigarettes have ototoxic chemicals, like formaldehyde, arsenic, hydrogen cyanide, nicotine, and ammonia. The danger alone of nicotine is that it constricts blood vessels and lowers blood oxygen levels throughout the body. The inner ear suffers dramatically from those effects. Stereocilia, or the sensitive hair cells in the ear that conduct sound to the brain, reside in the inner ear. If nicotine destroys them, they cannot be restored and neither can your hearing. Neurotransmitters located in your brain that help you interpret sound are also affected by the listed dangerous toxins. With damage to neurotransmitters, understanding speech becomes a problem. Another risk of smoking is tinnitus. Smoking can contribute to ringing in the ears. So, understand that the five dangerous chemicals in cigarettes are detrimental to hearing.
Quit smoking to preserve your health
If you quit smoking it will do wonders for your health. Here’s what happens 12 hours after quitting: Blood oxygen flow in your body improves because carbon monoxide levels return to normal. After three days, breathing gets easier and you experience a surge in energy levels. In a few weeks to a couple of months, your blood flow has improved and your lungs are stronger. The chances of getting a heart attack decrease. In five years, chances of a stroke are equivalent with a non-smoker. Getting mouth, esophagus, bladder, or throat cancer are half as likely as when you smoked. It can be difficult to quit smoking, but with help, such as with the American Cancer Society, it is possible. However, if you suspect smoking or second-hand smoke has already affected your hearing, consult a hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids for more help.