The Link with Second-hand Smoke and Hearing Loss

The list is growing on the ill effects of second-hand smoke.  A report released in 2011 connects secondhand smoke and hearing loss in teenagers.  The link was found when data from 1533 US participants, aged 12 to 19, revealed a higher level of a nicotine compound in the blood of those with hearing loss in at least one ear.

Teens exposed to second-hand smoke were 1.5 times more likely to have a hearing loss than the control group.  The link to blood samples could not be isolated from other factors such as exposure in the womb and duration of exposure.  Since this is also the only group studied, we can only assume the results would be similar in children who are younger as well as the adult population.

Although all of this is alarming, the hearing loss often goes undetected by the individual.  If the primary physician is aware of exposure, then children and adults should be closely monitored for hearing loss with periodic audiologic testing.  This is especially important for young children when their language is developing as they may be set back two years or more in their development.


About Judy Huch

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