Study Links Smoking with Increased Risk of Hearing Loss


Another reason to quit smoking: Current smokers were up to 70 percent more likely to develop high-frequency hearing loss than non-smokers, according to a Japanese study.  Published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, the study included more than 50,000 Japanese participants (ages 20-64) who did not have hearing loss at baseline.  As part of the smoking, smoking cessation, and the Risk of Hearing Loss: Japan Epidemiology Collaboration on Occupational Health Study, researchers tracked the cohort for eight years, performing hearing testing annually.  The high-frequency hearing loss risk increased with the number of cigarettes smoked per day:

  • Up to 10 cigarettes a day equated to a 40 percent increased risk.
  • 11-20 cigarettes a day equated to a 60 percent increased risk.
  • More than 20 cigarettes a day equated to a 70 percent increased risk.


“These results provide strong evidence to support that smoking is a casual factor for hearing loss and emphasize the need for tobacco control to prevent or delay the development of hearing loss,” says lead author Huanhuan Hu, a researcher at Japan’s National Center for Global Health and Medicine.