Rockville, Md — New research shows that regardless of gender, smokers are at a greater risk for inner ear-cochlear damage than nonsmokers, according to researchers who will be presenting their findings during the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) annual convention in Philadelphia this week.

According to ASHA member TK Parthasarathy and his co-presenters, this knowledge will help audiologists detect changes earlier in their smoking patients’ inner ear-cochlear function.

The presenters will explain that regardless of the number of cigarettes smoked per day, nicotine seems to cause a reduction in the blood supply to the smokers’ cochlea, thereby affecting hearing.

The title of the research is “Effects of Cigarette Smoking on Distortion Product Otoacoustic Emissions in Male and Female Adult Subjects.” By TK Parthasarathy et al.

In separate study, “Secondhand smoke exposure and the risk of hearing loss” by Starkey Laboratories researcher, David A Fabry, and co-authors, and published in the journal, Tobacco Control, the researchers conclude that second hand smoke exposure is associated with hearing loss in non-smoking adults.

Fabry et al collected data from non-smoking participants, aged 20-69 who had completed audiometric testing, had a valid serum continue value, and provided complete smoking, medical co-morbidity and noise exposure histories.

Frabry found that second-Hand smoke exposure was significantly associated with increased risk of hearing loss for low-/mid-frequencies for those who had never smoked and for former smokers, as well as high-frequencies for former smokers.

SOURCES: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and Tobacco Control Abstract