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Study finds smokers at greater risk of hearing loss


Smoking is associated with increased risk of hearing loss, according to a study of over 50,000 participants over 8 years in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, published by Oxford University Press.

Researchers analyzed data from annual health checkups, which included audio testing performed by a technician and a health-related lifestyle questionnaire completed by each participant. They examined the effects of smoking status (current, former, and never smokers), the number of cigarettes smoked per day, and the duration of smoking cessation on the extent of hearing loss. Even after adjusting for factors including occupational noise exposure, researchers noted a 1.2 to 1.6 increased risk of hearing loss among current smokers compared with never smokers.

While the association between smoking and high-frequency hearing loss was stronger than that of low-frequency hearing loss, the risk of both high- and low-frequency hearing loss increased with cigarette consumption. The increased risk of hearing loss decreased within 5 years after quitting smoking.

"With a large sample size, long follow-up period, and objective assessment of hearing loss, our study provides strong evidence that smoking is an independent risk factor of hearing loss," said the study's lead author Dr. Huanhuan Hu of Japan's National Center for Global Health and Medicine. "These results provide strong evidence to support that smoking is a causal factor for hearing loss and emphasize the need for tobacco control to prevent or delay the development of hearing loss."


The paper "Smoking, Smoking Cessation, and the Risk of Hearing Loss: Japan Epidemiology Collaboration on Occupational Health Study" will be available at: https://academic.oup.com/ntr/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/ntr/nty026

Direct correspondence to:

Dr. Huanhuan Hu
National Center for Global Health and Medicine
1 Chome-21-1 Toyama, Shinjuku, Tokyo 162-8655

To request a copy of the study, please contact:

Daniel Luzer

Nicotine and Tobacco Research is sponsored by the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. It is published on behalf of the society by Oxford Journals, a division of Oxford University Press. Please acknowledge the journal as a source in any articles.