Do you need the T.V. louder than other family members? I do! I have experienced some upper frequency hearing loss but I always thought it was due to other factors : ))) I've indexed this article under the News Articles subject heading. Just one more reason to NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF OF NICOTINE!
Hearing Loss: Yet Another Smoking Risk
CHICAGO, November 2000 - Cigarette smokers, especially the heaviest smokers, are at increased risk of hearing loss, according to a study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).
Led by Dr. Noriyuki Nakanishi of Osaka University, the researchers analyzed the effects of smoking on the rate of hearing loss in nearly 1,600 Japanese male office workers.
With adjustment for other risk factors, the more a man smoked, the greater his risk of loss in the high-frequency range. The association was significant whether smoking was expressed in terms of number of cigarettes smoked per day, or as the total number of "pack-years" smoked over a lifetime.
For a man with a 40-pack-year smoking habit - that is, who smoked the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes per day for 40 years - the risk of high-frequency hearing loss was more than double that of a man who never smoked. Smoking had no apparent effect on hearing loss in the low-frequency range.
Although many different factors affect the risk of hearing loss, the researchers estimate that about 10 percent of cases remain unexplained. The new results suggest that smoking is a previously unrecognized risk factor for permanent hearing loss.
It is unknown how smoking increases the risk of hearing loss. Smoking may have a direct toxic effect on hearing, or it may cause damage by reducing blood flow to the structures involved in hearing. Smokers are less healthy than nonsmokers in several respects, and it is possible that this accounts for their higher risk of hearing loss.
Further studies will be needed to test these mechanisms. In the meantime, the results suggest that hearing loss may be added to the long list of harmful effects of smoking, providing smokers with yet another good reason to quit.
ACOEM, an international society of more than 7,000 occupational and environmental medicine physicians, provides leadership to promote optimal health and safety of workers, workplaces, and the environment by the education of health professionals and the public; stimulating research; enhancing quality of practice; guiding public policy; and advancing the field of occupational and environmental medicine.