While using electronic cigarettes may not cause our clothes to reek of smoke, does our hearing escape as unscathed from vaping (the use of an e-cigarette)?
Although the use of e-cigarettes and vaping has increased dramatically in recent years, the jury is still out on their health risks and whether the practice is an effective method of quitting tobacco, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last year, nearly 21% of high school students vaped in the past 30 days, while nearly 3% of the U.S. adult population were e-cigarette users in 2017.
What is known is that the liquid in e-cigarettes contains the addictive drug nicotine. Hearing Associates in Mason City, Iowa reminds you that nicotine can contribute to heart disease, while other chemicals produced in the vaping process such as formaldehyde, lead, silicate particles and nitrosamines have been linked to cancer.
Just like traditional cigarettes, these chemicals can damage a person’s inner ear hair cells, which translate sounds into neural signals the brain can register. Once damaged, these hair cells do not come back – the death of inner ear cells can lead to sensorineural hearing loss, a permanent condition.
Although e-cigarettes contain fewer chemicals than the 7,000 chemicals found in tobacco cigarettes, they are not considered a safe substitute for smoking.
Further, the use of nicotine is commonly associated with an increase in tinnitus (ringing in the ears), so e-cigarettes could worsen the condition in the nearly 50 million Americans who experience it.