Smoking has been linked to hearing loss, joining the numerous reasons — such as cancer, heart disease, and lung disease — why smoking is bad for you.

A Japanese study monitored the health of 50,195 people in Japan for a period of up to 8 years.

The researchers found that those who smoked up to 10 cigarettes a day were 40 percent more likely to develop high-frequency hearing loss and 10 percent more likely to develop low-frequency hearing loss.

For 11-20 cigarettes a day, those numbers went up to 60 percent and 20 percent respectively.

For more than 20 cigarettes a day, the risks went up even further, to 70 percent for high-frequency hearing and 40 percent for low-frequency hearing.

According to the researchers, those statistics merely show an association suggesting that “smoking may be a causal factor for hearing loss”.

Further studies will be needed to definitively prove the connection.

Huanhuan Hu, the study lead author, said: “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.

“Quitting smoking virtually eliminates the excess risk of hearing loss, even among quitters with short duration of cessation.

“Because the risk of hearing loss increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day, if quitting is impossible people should still smoke as little as possible.”

The study was published March 14 in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.



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