Guest Blog Friday – John O’Connor

Welcome to the very first “Guest Blog Friday”, featuring an article by John O’Connor on hearing loss and smoking. John has his own blog over at “Blogging With John O”, and you can follow him on Twitter at @oconnorj70.

Did You Know Smoking Can Cause Hearing Loss?

If you smoke, there is just one more reason to stop. You have a larger chance of losing your hearing if you smoke than if you do not. Most people are aware that smoking may lead to lung cancer, throat cancer, allergies and emphysema, but few people are aware that smoking could cause hearing loss. Despite the evidence of all the complications that smoking can cause in a person’s life, millions still chose to smoke around the world. Treatment would be to quit smoking or if you already are affected by hearing loss, use a hearing aid to help better your hearing. Hopefully, this article will give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

What You Should Know About Smoking and Hearing Loss
Currently, one in five people in the world smoke according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Smokers are at higher risk for diseases and other illnesses. When in contact with others, a smoker can put others at danger with second hand smoke or through the disease that he or she may have contracted as a result of cigarette smoking. Smokers not only harm themselves but others around them. It is a dangerous habit that is only growing in popularity with the adult population.

The good news is that teen smoking is down 10 percent according to the CDC. The bad news is that women smoke more than men, and approximately 11.4 percent of women put their developing babies at risk by smoking. In some states, 26.2 percent of women endanger their children by smoking. This number is alarming given the fact that the label clearly states the dangers of smoking. This is a testament to the addictive nature of smoking.

When a person smokes, they are consuming benzene, arsenic, formaldehyde, vinyl chloride, ammonia and hydrogen cyanide. All of these substances are known killers if consumed in large quantities. With heavy smokers consuming more than 10 cigarettes per day, they have consciously made the decision put their lives at risk daily. Many people wonder how people can continually make the choice.

With the dangers associated with smoking addiction, it is a wonder that all public locations have not banned the use of this popular substance. For over 40 years, experts have been aware of the dangers of hearing loss in those people who smoke, but the information has not been widely disseminated. If a smoker knew that hearing loss was a potential side effect of smoking, how many people would continue?

How Does Smoking Affect Hearing?
Studies have shown that cigarette smokers damage the conductive mechanism in the middle ear and the hair cells in the inner ear. Smoking affects oxygen levels in the body. Depleted oxygen levels can increase damage. According to some studies, nicotine affects the neurotransmitters located on the auditory nerve, and the brain can no longer detect the responses from external sources.

Hearing loss seems to be related to the number of cigarettes smoked per day, and the length of time the smoker has engaged in the activity. People who smoke reported hearing high pitched sound similar to birds tweeting after smoking affected the high frequency range of smoking.

When smoking, noise and old age are all factors, the chances of hearing loss increases. Non-smokers in the age group between 20 and 40 are least likely to experience hearing loss. Smokers over the age of 40 with exposure to noise have the greatest chance of hearing loss.

Tips for Avoiding Hearing Loss
Do Not Smoke: If you don’t smoke, don’t start. You could lose your hearing and ability to enjoy life as you know it now.

Eat Healthy: If you are exposed to smoke, drink plenty of vitamin C and consume antioxidants to lower the levels of free radicals that may be harmful in the body. Even this is not enough to combat the effects of smoking. Eat healthy and avoid smoke-filled rooms, smokers and direct smoke.

Avoid Noise: Noisy environments can increase your chances of developing hearing loss. Avoid noisy environments, if you are over 40 and smoke.

Kick the Habit and Enjoy a Healthy Life

Eat well, avoid noise and most importantly, don’t smoke to avoid hearing loss. If you can hear your friends, family and colleagues, you will thank us for this tip.

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