Secondhand Smoke May Hurt Your HearingJul-21-2011
People who don't use cigarettes but who regularly breathe in other people's tobacco smoke are at increased risk of some degree of hearing loss, a new study finds.
This had been surmised because previous research has indicated that smokers are at much greater risk of some degree of hearing loss.
Researchers examined data on 3,307 adults aged 20-69 who were classified as passive smokers based on blood levels of the chemical cotinine, a breakdown product of nicotine.
Smoking Can Increase Risk of Hearing Loss in Nonsmokers
In the study, 14% of former smokers who had been exposed to tobacco smoke by others were more likely to have impaired hearing in low to mid frequencies.
The study also found that more than 46% of these former smokers who had been exposed to secondhand smoke had high-frequency hearing loss, which can make speech sound muffled. Researchers say although the risk of hearing loss was not as strong among people who had never smoked, nearly one in 10 people in that group, or 8.6%, had low- to mid-frequency hearing loss, and 26% had high-frequency hearing loss.
The findings suggest that continued exposure to smoke by former smokers could continue the progression of high-frequency hearing loss that started when the former smokers were still smoking.
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Posted by Ken at 12:00 AM
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