Smoking and hearing loss

Smokers are nearly 60% more likely than non-smokers to suffer hearing loss

How can smoking affect your hearing?
According to a study in March 2018 that used 50,000 people over 8 year, smokers are over 60% more likely to develop a hearing loss in comparison to non-smokers. 

Other previous studies into smoking and its link to hearing loss have proven that similar patterns in the likelihood of developing a hearing loss. There were also patterns with non-smokers that came into frequent contact with second hand smoke. 
What are the effects of smoking on your hearing?
This is a question that a lot of people ask. 

The nicotine and carbon monoxide that you get from cigarettes lower the oxygen levels in your red blood cells and also constrict the blood vessels across your entire body. this includes in your ears where there are tiny hair cells. It is the blood vessels that are located in your inner ear that supply the blood to the hair cells and maintain their health. When the health of your inner ear hair cells are jeopardised, you run the risk of developing a hearing loss as the hair cells lose their blood supply and become weaker. 

The result of the damage to your hair cells mean that they become sensitive to loud volumes and noise-induced hearing loss is a more susceptible condition. 

Smoking also affects the neurotransmitters that are situated in the auditory nerve because of this lack of blood supply. Therefore this can also be detrimental to your hearing health as your brain receives mixed messages from these transmitters. 

The good news is, there are positive affects pretty much instantly after you decide to stop smoking. 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your circulation begins to improve. In 8 hours, your oxygen levels increase and your carbon monoxide levels decrease and after 48 hours, the nerve endings begin to regenerate. This means that giving up smoking will have a positive impact not only on your hearing, but your general health. 
Can I get ear infections because of smoking?
In a short answer, yes. This applies to both smokers and anyone in contact with second-hand smoke, including children. 

This is because of the weakening impact that smoking cigarettes has on the immune system and also damages the tissue in the nose and throat. This means that people who smoke or come into contact with second-hand smoke are more susceptible to ear infections.