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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Secondhand Smoke Might Harm Your Hearing

While you might not be a smoker yourself, breathing in secondhand smoke could be putting you at risk of suffering from some degree of hearing loss.

Previous research has indicated that smokers are at much greater risk of some degree of hearing loss. In this new study, researchers examined data on 3,307 adults aged 20-69 who were classified as passive smokers based on blood levels of the chemical cotinine, a breakdown product of nicotine.

The study found that 14% of former smokers exposed to tobacco smoke were more likely to have impaired hearing in low to mid frequencies, while nearly half (46%) of these former smokers had high-frequency hearing loss, which can make speech sound muffled. While the risk of hearing loss was not as strong among people who had never smoked, nearly one in 10 people in that group, or 8.6%, had low- to mid-frequency hearing loss, and 26% had high-frequency hearing loss.

Such findings suggest that continued exposure to smoke by former smokers could continue the progression of high-frequency hearing loss that started when the former smokers were still smoking.

via AOL

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