Alcohol Consumption and Smoking Has Adverse Effects on Hearing Health

Alcohol Consumption and Smoking Has Adverse Effects on Hearing Health

The American Medical Association recently stated that those who smoke have a higher likelihood of having hearing loss than those who do not. Even passive smokers may be affected by hearing loss. The numbers are staggering, with 70% of smokers that go on to develop hearing loss, compared to non-smokers! The heavier you smoke, the higher your chances of getting hearing loss.

Smokers who expose themselves to loud noises also appear to be more susceptible to hearing damage compared to non-smokers that are exposed to the same levels of noise. In fact, those in the manufacturing industry were found to have a quadruple times likelihood of having hearing loss if they were a smoker, compared to non-smokers.

Unfortunately, it is not the smokers alone that are affected adversely. Even those who live around those who smoke tend to suffer from muffled hearing as a result of second-hand smoke in their system. This was found especially true for children who have a more delicate auditory system that is prone to severe damage as a result of second-hand smoke.

The reason why smoking adversely affects hearing is simple. Our inner ear has delicate hair follicles that require oxygen-enriched blood supply in order to function properly. Smoking pumps unhealthy components such as nicotine as well as carbon monoxide into the body, which constricts the blood vessels of the ear, resulting in hearing loss. It has also been found that alcohol consumption has similar negative effects on hearing health.

Heavy drinking can lead to significant damage to hearing. Over time, alcohol use tends to damage the brain cells that reside in the auditory cortex, which is responsible for sound processing. Reduced auditory cortex functionality means inability to process sound signals, resulting in hearing loss. Alcohol has also been found to damage the delicate hair follicles inside the inner ear.

Alcohol use and smoking have been associated with a number of health hazards over the years. This is one more reason to restrict alcohol consumption and cease smoking, since hearing loss is an irreversible condition. If you suspect that you or someone you love may have hearing loss, consult an audiologist today to seek timely treatment.