cigarette smoke

By Rachael Lapham on 24th February 2016

Quit Smoking & Save Your Hearing

We all know that smoking is really bad for us, but did you know that it has been linked to hearing loss? Among the dangers of smoking, not the least that it is estimated that more than 480,000 people die from it each year, is the risk smoking poses to your hearing health. As is the case with many smoking dangers, this extends to those exposed to secondhand smoke, as well.

A chemical cocktail of horror!

The organ of hearingMost cigarettes are a veritable cocktail of chemicals that are known to be ototoxic. The word ototoxic refers to any compound that may damage the delicate structures that make up your ears and your sense of hearing. The most delicate and fragile are the tiny hair cells in your inner ear that transmit sound impulses to your brain. As ototoxicity destroys them your hearing ability declines. Those chemicals in tobacco products include the following:

  • Ammonia
  • Arsenic
  • Benzene
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Nicotine
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hydrogen cyanide

Embalming Fluid? Honestly!

I mean Formaldehyde!!! They use that for embalming and we are breathing it in for pleasure, not to mention cyanide!. So as you can imagine some of these chemicals are directly hazardous to the structures in your ears. Cigarette smoke has a direct effect on your ears as it fills your eustachian tube which connects your middle ear to the back of your throat. So every time you draw smoke in exhale it through your mouth or nose, your Eustachian tube fills with toxic substances that flow directly into your ears.

Who Needs Hair Cells Anyway?

The chemicals also get a second bite at the ear cherry when they enter your bloodstream. Some of the chemicals like carbon monoxide, cause blood vessel constriction throughout your body.  All of your organs, but especially your inner ear rely on a good supply of oxygenated blood, the highly-sensitive hair cells depend on a steady flow of oxygen-rich blood to survive. We think that this is the underlying reason that most cardio vascular diseases appear to be connected to hearing loss. 

The dangers of second hand smoke are very real, so anyone who is around you when you exhale smoke on a regular basis is also exposed to these chemicals, putting their hearing and general health at risk. Unfortunately, Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke, increasing their likelihood of ear infections and middle ear fluid buildup. Teens have been found to experience a higher risk of hearing loss at the lower frequencies that is directly related to how often they are exposed to secondhand smoke.

Who Wants To Live Forever!

Sorry, the ghost of Freddie Mercury got to me there, it’s no secret that smoking can take years off your life, however, most people don't realise that it can also reduce the quality of the years you have. All of those nasty diseases caused by smoking will all interfere with your quality of life. Losing your ability to hear well has much more impact than people think. By damaging your sense of hearing, smoking can rob you of the ability to enjoy music, laughter, and the sounds of your loved ones’ voices. These things are the things that make life worth living.

Don’t let smoking rob you of your health or your hearing. Seek help to quit smoking before it damages your hearing and overall health permanently.

If you have any questions about hearing loss, hearing healthcare or hearing aids on the Isle of Man, give us a call on 01624 830722 or book your appointment online now

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