Lead author Dr. Huanhuan Hu of Japan's National Center for Global Health and Medicine added that this makes it even more important to control tobacco use to stem or delay hearing loss. He and his colleagues made the conclusion on the heels of research that took more than eight years to complete. Besides the prolonged time frame, the researchers' confidence in their findings stems from the study's large sample size of over 50,000 participants.
They studied data from yearly health checkups, including audio testing and a health-related lifestyle questionnaire per participant. They also analyzed the effects of smoking status (current, former, and never smokers), number of cigarettes consumed a day, and the relationship between length of smoking cessation and the extent of hearing loss. They found a higher risk of hearing loss among smokers compared with non-smokers. (Related: Smoking causes up to 40% of cancer deaths in the US... so why are cigarettes still sold by pharmacies?)
Fortunately, the effects are reversible. The higher risk to hearing loss went down within five years after the person stopped smoking.
Can't bear the prospect of losing your sense of hearing due to cigarette smoke? Try these simple steps.
List down what you like and dislike about smoking. Dr. Daniel Z. Lieberman, director of the Clinical Psychiatric Research Center at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. suggests writing down the reasons why you like smoking on one side of the paper, and why you (or your friends and loved ones) dislike it (e.g. it adds years to your face) on the other side. Then mull over the list. Better yet, get your family and friends' honest opinion. You're ready to quit when the negative items outnumber the positive ones. Draw another list on why quitting isn't easy and write other forms of action to take. Make the list thorough.
Set a deadline. Make a "quit date contract", sign it and get a family member or friend as witness. Include all the reasons you're quitting. Keep the list with you all the time.
Stop buying cigarette cartons. Try buying a pack each time. Carry two or three packs with you at a time. You'll end up not having a cigarette to puff when you want to. Gaylene Mooney, chair of the American Association for Respiratory Care’s Subcommittee on Smoking and Tobacco-Related Issues suggests taking note of what you're doing at the time you wanted to smoke and how badly you want to puff a cigarette to see if certain times of the day or if activities promote your cravings.
Quit when you're in high spirits. Studies show that you're less likely to quit smoking if you're depressed or under stress.
Snack on healthy food. Replace cigarettes with sunflower seeds, nuts, carrots, or celery sticks. This keeps your hands and your mouth busy while giving you the same physical and oral sensations you get from smoking.
Store all the money you’re saving on cigarettes in a large glass jar. Watch how that jar fills up and how you're saving along the way. Set aside that money for something you've been wanting to buy but never thought you can afford, like a beach vacation in Florida or a cruise in Alaska.
Make yourself some herbal tea. Brewing tea and slowing sipping it as it cools off gives the same stress relief as inhaling nicotine. You may also carry cinnamon-flavored toothpicks and suck on one when you crave for a cigarette.
Imagine playing tennis or go play the game. British researchers discovered that volunteers who want to quit smoking succeeded more if they visualized themselves in a tennis match. It's good exercise, too.
Life is great when you hear a loved one's sweet whispers or the soothing sound of your favorite music. Don't rob yourself of these simple joys by smoking. It's not worth it at all.