Add hearing loss to the long list of health problems linked to smoking cigarettes, according to a large study published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research. This study involved more than 50,000 participants over an eight-year period.
The researchers analyzed data from yearly health checkups, including audio testing performed by a technician, and health-related lifestyle questionnaires completed by the study participants. They evaluated smoking status (current smoker, former smoker, never smoked), number of cigarettes smoked per day, duration of smoking cessation, and hearing loss after adjusting for other factors that can affect hearing like occupational noise exposure.
Current smokers in the study had a 1.2 to 1.6 times higher risk for hearing loss then people who had never smoked. The link between smoking and high-frequency hearing loss was stronger than for low-frequency hearing loss, and rates of both types of hearing loss increased the more cigarettes a person smoked. After quitting, the added hearing loss risk decreased within five years.