Electronic cigarettes could affect your hearing

Post on 14th September 2016

Research linking an increased risk of hearing loss to electronic cigarettes has added to concerns over the safety of vaping.

Smokers looking to kick the habit are switching to e-cigarettes as a safer option but there are still risks and conflicting views on the effects of long term use.

There’s not much doubt that smoking is bad for your health generally and it’s a good idea to give it up.

What is perhaps less well known is that giving up or reducing smoking and avoiding exposure to tobacco smoke may reduce your risk of hearing loss.

A research study found that smokers have a 15.1 percent higher risk of experiencing hearing loss compared to non smokers and passive smoking also increased the likelihood of hearing loss by 28 percent. The higher figure could be because smokers were compared to both complete non-smokers and passive non-smokers but passive smokers were only compared to non smokers.

Ex smokers demonstrate a reduced risk of hearing loss, possibly because giving up smoking often comes along with taking on other healthy lifestyle habits.

Turning to e-cigarettes instead may not be ideal because the chemicals and nicotine used in them can have a impact on your health and could affect your hearing.

The flavoured liquid used in e-cigarettes contains propylene glycol, known to be indirectly toxic to the auditory system and commonly found in products like shampoo. However, the effects of inhaled propylene glycol are unknown.

Previously, propylene glycol was found to create inflammation in the middle ear mucosa to mimic cholesteatoma – a destructive expanding growth in the middle ear – in animals. Based on this, it was concluded that propylene glycol can negatively impact hearing.

Some studies even alluded to the damage caused to the strial cells (which promote hearing by helping blood circulate in the ear). When these cells die due to toxins and insufficient supply of oxygenated blood, sudden hearing loss may take place.

Giving up smoking and adopting a healthy lifestyle has much to recommend it.

If you have concerns about your hearing, please seek advice from your local Scrivens branch.

 
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