According to a study recently published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, there may be a link between smoking and hearing loss.
It’s not clear why smoking causes hearing loss, but this study gives numbers to support that the two are related. The study found after following 50,195 adults in Japan for eight years that eight in 1000 people (who have never smoked before) develop high-frequency hearing loss each year.
The rate of developing hearing loss in smokers was even higher, with 15 out of 1,000 smokers developing high-frequency hearing loss.
“These results provide strong evidence to support that smoking is a causal factor for hearing loss and emphasize the need for tobacco control to prevent or delay the development of hearing loss,” Huanhuan Hu, who led the study and is a senior researcher with Japan’s National Center for Global Health and Medicine, told Consumer Reports.
Not only may smoking cause hearing loss, but it has also been linked as a trigger for tinnitus.
Read more: 5 things that can make tinnitus worse
You also may want to think about quitting smoking as soon as possible because according to the study in Japan, smokers who quit, will have a decreased chance of developing hearing loss.
“The analysis by quitting years showed a decline in risk of hearing loss after quitting smoking, even among those who quitted less than 5 years before baseline,” according to the study.
Overall, the study concludes it is better to quit later rather than never.
We will be waiting for more information about how exactly smoking causes hearing loss, but for now, it is best to not smoke to avoid numerous health risks, including hearing loss.
Learn more about the study on the risk of hearing loss from smoking here.