You’ve probably heard some of the myriads of conditions linked to smoking cigarettes, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). But did you know that smoking can also lead to hearing loss? A study published in The American Journal of Medicine sought to uncover just how strong this link is.
About the Study
The study, entitled “Cigarette Smoking, Smoking Cessation and Risk of Hearing Loss in Women,” was conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Medical School.
Data was extrapolated from 81,505 women involved in the American Nurse’s Health Study II (1991-2013), 2,760 of whom had hearing loss. Of the total number, 66.5% of participants had never smoked, 22.4% were past smokers, and 11.1% were current smokers.
Researchers found that women who still smoked had an overall greater risk of moderate to severe hearing loss, especially those who had greater pack years. (Pack years refers to the amount an individual has smoked over time, which is calculated by multiplying the number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day [20/pack] by the number of years that amount was smoked.)
This was also true for past smokers. The risk was lower for those who had quit smoking longest ago. The difference in risk level was most significant within the first 10-14 years of quitting. Those who had quit longest ago had similar risk-levels to those who never smoked.
Benefits of Quitting
The American Cancer Society reports that…
- 20 minutes after quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate drop.
- A few days after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal.
- 2-3 months after quitting, your lung function and circulation improve, meaning you can enjoy running around Piedmont Park.
- 1-12 months after quitting, coughing and shortness of breath decrease, and your risk of infection is reduced.
- 1-2 years after quitting, your risk of a heart attack drops dramatically.
- 5-10 years after quitting, your risk of developing mouth, throat and larynx cancers is cut in half.
- 10 years after quitting, your risk of developing lung cancer is half of that of a person who still smokes.
- 15 years after quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease is near that of a non-smoker.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the experts at ENT of Georgia today.