Smoking may increase the risk of going deaf, new research suggests.
Scientists today discovered adults plagued by the bad habit are up to 60 per cent more likely to suffer hearing loss.
However, their risk of going deaf or losing their ability to hear clearly, is slashed when smokers give up cigarettes.
The Japanese findings, derived from data of more than 50,000 people, adds to the growing list of known dangers of smoking.
Scientists today discovered adults plagued by the bad habit are up to 60 per cent more likely to suffer hearing loss
Evidence already highlights that cigarettes can damage the lungs and heart, and lead to several forms of cancer.
Links between smoking and hearing loss have been touted in recent years amid a wave of studies finding similar results.
But research, including the new National Centre for Global Health and Medicine in Japan study, has yet to uncover why.
Researchers made the conclusion using data from the participants.
They analysed the annual health check-ups of all the volunteers, which included hearing tests and lifestyle questionnaires.
WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT E-CIGARETTES
How they work:
E-cigarettes use a mixture of flavored liquids and nicotine to create a vapor.
This vapor is then inhaled by the user similarly to how one would smoke a regular cigarette.
Are these devices safe?
Since these devices don’t use traditional smoke, people are under the assumption that they are safe for you.
But the liquid in the e-cigarettes can contain harmful toxins and carcinogens including anti-freeze.
The nicotine in the e-cigarettes also had addictive components and can lead to other tobacco use. This can hinder brain development in teens.
Also, the devices can overheat and explode if defective.
The Food and Drug Administration does not certify e-cigarettes as a product to get over smoking regular cigarettes.
Their study showed a greater risk of hearing loss among current smokers compared with people who had never picked up a cigarette.
They found that smoking boosted the risk of losing the ability to hear clearly from between 20 to 60 per cent.
The impact of smoking remained even after adjusting for factors that may have affected the results, such as exposure to occupational noise.
Lead author Dr Huanhuan Hu published his findings in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.
Commenting on his study, he said: ‘Our study provides strong evidence that smoking is an independent risk factor of hearing loss.’
Dr Hu added the results ‘emphasise the need for tobacco control to prevent or delay the development of hearing loss’.
Smoking appeared to affect the ability to hear both high and low frequency sounds, but the association with high frequency loss was greater.
It comes after health officials claimed last summer the end of smoking is finally ‘in sight’ following a drop in figures.
Around 680,000 adults gave up the bad habit completely in 2016, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.
Smoking, which is known to cause heart disease and lung cancer, is responsible for around 120,000 deaths across the UK each year.
Thousands of smokers are turning to e-cigarettes, with three million Britons now believed to use the battery-powered devices containing nicotine.
Although thought to be considerably safer than tobacco cigarettes, studies have linked long-term use to heart disease and cancer.