Many of the risks of smoking are well-known, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). As researchers learn more about the comorbidities of smoking, this list continues to grow. In fact, many are now beginning to add hearing loss to the list in part thanks to a recent study.
About the Study
One American study published in 2020 in the American Journal of Medicine entitled “Cigarette Smoking, Smoking Cessation and Risk of Hearing Loss in Women” has uncovered a higher prevalence of hearing loss in women who smoke or used to smoke compared to those who have never smoked.
For this study, researchers gathered data from 81,505 women who were participants in the American Nurse’s Health Study II from 1991 to 2013. A total of 2,760 of these women had a hearing loss. In addition:
- 66.5% of participants were never smokers
- 22.4% of participants were past smokers
- 11.1% of participants were current smokers.
Researchers found that for current and past smokers, there was a trend toward higher risk of moderate to severe hearing loss, especially for women with greater pack years.
But for those who had quit smoking, this risk began to diminish, especially over the first 10 to 14 years after quitting. Those who had quit smoking longest ago had a risk-level most similar to those who had never smoked.
Benefits of Quitting Smoking
There are many benefits to quitting smoking, from small ones like being able to walk around the Augusta Riverwalk without becoming short of breath to decreasing your risk of premature death. According to the American Cancer Society:
- 20 minutes after quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure decrease
- A few days after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal
- 2-3 weeks after quitting, your circulation and lung function improve
- 1-12 months after quitting, coughing and shortness of breath decrease
- 1-2 years after quitting, your risk of heart attack dramatically drops
- 5-10 years after quitting, your risk of mouth and throat cancers is cut in half
- 10 years after quitting, your risk of lung cancer is half of that of a person still smoking
- 15 years after quitting, your risk of heart disease is near that of a non-smoker
To learn more about the connection between smoking and hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call Augusta ENT today.