A study involving more than 50,000 participants found that smoking increased the risk of hearing loss.
The eight-year study analyzed data from annual health checkups, which included audio testing performed by a technician as well as a health-related lifestyle questionnaire completed by each participant.
Researchers examined the effects of smoking status (current, former, and never smokers), the number of cigarettes smoked per day, and the duration of smoking cessation on the extent of hearing loss.
Even after adjusting for factors including occupational noise exposure, researchers found a 1.2 to 1.6 increased risk of hearing loss among current smokers compared with those who had never smoked.
The association was stronger between smoking and high-frequency hearing loss than that of low-frequency hearing loss, and the risk of both types increased with the numbers of cigarettes smoked. The researchers also found that the increased risk of hearing loss decreased within five years after quitting smoking.
“Our study provides strong evidence that smoking is an independent risk factor of hearing loss,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Huanhuan Hu of Japan’s National Center for Global Health and Medicine.
The study was published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.
Another recent analysis involving almost 150,000 people found that smoking also increases belly fat. While a smoker may weigh less than a non-smoker, scientists at the University of Glasgow found that smoking concentrates fat into the central area of the body, causing a bigger stomach that’s in the shape of an apple.
Apple-shaped bodies, as opposed to pear-shaped bodies, are known to increase the risk of many diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking is the No. 1 cause of preventable disease and deaths, and accounts for about 1 in 5 deaths.
Although smoking rates have declined in recent years, an estimated 37.8 million adults still smoke in the United States.
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