While no one thinks smoking cigarettes is a healthy habit, many people don’t realize the damage it can do to your hearing.
The nearly 40 million American adults lighting up on a regular basis are 70 percent more likely to experience hearing loss than their non-smoking peers, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The article also stated that non-smokers living with smokers were twice as likely to have hearing problems as people not exposed to second-hand smoke.
Cigarettes are full of toxic chemicals including nicotine, formaldehyde, arsenic, ammonia and vinyl chloride. Some of these are known as ototoxic, meaning they can damage your hearing and cause tinnitus and balance problems.
How smoking hurts your ears
- Nicotine and carbon monoxide tighten blood vessels in the ear, restricting blood flow to the inner ear. The hair cells in the cochlea may be damaged by the lack of oxygen.
- Neurotransmitters in the auditory nerve can be damaged by nicotine, which hinders the brain’s ability to determine what sounds are being processed.
- Smoking can make you more sensitive to loud noises, which makes you more likely to develop noise-induced hearing loss.