Thank goodness the era of smoking is over. Or is it? With vaping becoming an emerging phenomenon among the young population, the effects of smoking are making a resurgence. Yes, vaping may be better for you than smoking cigarettes. But the health consequences of the nicotine either in cigarette or vape form can still do damage, especially to your auditory health.
Studies Indicate A Connection
According to a study referenced by the Asahi Shimbun, researchers at the National Center for Global Health and Medicine in Tokyo found that individuals who smoke 21 cigarettes or more a day are 1.7 times more at risk of experiencing unilateral high-frequency hearing loss, and about 1.4 times more at risk for low-frequency damage than non-smokers.
Researchers gathered data from over 50,000 individuals whose ages ranged from 20 to 64 years old. Their health data from 2010 period physicals were compared with health check-ups from up to 2016. The comparison revealed that 3,500 of the individuals in the study developed high-frequency hearing loss than non-smokers. 1,600 individuals experienced low-frequency hearing loss. These results were obtained after factors such as age, health, heart disease, etc. were taken into consideration.
However, those individuals who had stopped smoking for at least five years experienced a reduction in the prevalence of high frequency and low-frequency hearing loss alike. That’s because the nicotine in the cigarette causes cardiovascular damage that reduces blood flow to inner ear cells responsible for converting sound into auditory signals and sending it to the auditory processing centers of the brain.
By quitting smoking, the cardiovascular system has some chance of recovering from the damage done by nicotine. Thus the chance of developing high frequency or low-frequency hearing loss can decrease.
Dangers Of Vaping
Now with the popularity of vaping, the rate of induced hearing loss may also be on the rise. Once used to help people quit cigarettes, vaping has become a growing fad among young people. It has found a new generation of fresh smokers who may become addicted and experience all the ill health consequences nicotine has to offer.
Although the legal age for vaping is 18 years old, in the last five years almost 40% of high schoolers have tried vaping at least once according to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC). Because vaping is very loosely regulated, it’s hard to say just how much nicotine a smoker is inhaling each time he/she vapes.
Whether vaping or smoking, this study and other similar ones have shown that among the myriad health risks these bad habits pose, damage to your auditory health is a significant one. With the natural loss that occurs as people age, the last thing any person would want to do is increase their risk of hearing loss on top of the risk due to age.
To find out more about the risks of smoking, please don’t hesitate to call our office today to speak to a hearing health professional.