shutterstock 624051842Today (10 March 2021) is No Smoking Day, so we thought we’d look at how smoking can impact your hearing.

Cigarettes contain carbon monoxide and nicotine which lower oxygen blood levels and constrict blood vessels all over your body–including those in your inner ear responsible for maintaining hair cell health.

Nicotine and cigarette smoke are also thought to:

  • interfere with neurotransmitters in the auditory nerve, which are responsible for telling the brain which sound you are hearing
  • irritate the Eustachian tube and lining of the middle ear
  • trigger the release of free radicals that can damage DNA and cause disease
  • make you more sensitive to loud noises and therefore more susceptible to developing noise-induced hearing loss

Smoking can also be linked to ear infections. Smoking weakens the immune system and damages tissues in the nose and throat, making them more susceptible to infections that affect the ears.

The benefits of stopping smoking

According to the American Lung Association, 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your blood pressure decreases and your circulation improves. Within 8 hours, your carbon monoxide and oxygen levels return to normal. In 48 hours, your sense of smell and taste improve and your nerve endings begin to regenerate.

Other health benefits of stopping smoking include:

  • Lowered risk of lung cancer and other types of cancer
  • Reduced risk of coronary heart disease (which can also affect hearing), stroke, and peripheral vascular disease
  • Reduced respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath
  • Reduced risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

While you can’t reverse any sensorineural hearing loss you’ve developed during your smoking years, you can prevent any future nicotine-related damage to your hearing once you stop.

If you would like help to stop smoking visit the NHS No Smoking Day website.


Source: Healthy Hearing