Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Another danger of secondhand smoke -- hearing loss

Date:
July 18, 2011
Source:
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine
Summary:
Researchers report in a new study that exposure to tobacco smoke nearly doubles the risk of hearing loss among adolescents.

NYU School of Medicine researchers report in a new study that exposure to tobacco smoke nearly doubles the risk of hearing loss among adolescents. The study is published in the July, 2011, issue of Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

Related Articles


"More than half of all children in the U.S. are exposed to secondhand smoke, so our finding that it can lead to hearing loss in teenagers has huge public health implications,"* says Anil Lalwani, MD, professor of professor of otolaryngology, physiology and neuroscience, and pediatrics at NYU School of Medicine, who led the research. "We need to evaluate how we deal with smoking in public places and at home, as well as how often and when we screen children for hearing loss," he says.

The dangers of secondhand smoke are well known. Living with a smoker raises the risk of dying from heart disease and lung cancer, and in children exposure to smoke exacerbates the severity of asthma attacks and causes more than 750,000 middle ear infections, according to the American Cancer Society. The new study is the first to link secondhand smoke to hearing loss.

More than 1,500 teenagers aged 12 to 19 participated in the nationwide study. They were selected from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which collects health information from children and adults around the United States. The teenagers were initially evaluated in their homes and then were given extensive hearing tests and blood tests for the chemical cotinine, a metabolite of nicotine, at a medical center.

The teens exposed to secondhand smoke, as measured by the metabolite in their blood, were more likely to have sensorineural hearing loss, which is most often caused by problems with the cochlea, the snail-shaped hearing organ of the inner ear. "It's the type of hearing loss that usually tends to occur as one gets older, or among children born with congenital deafness," explains co-author Michael Weitzman, MD, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine.

The study found that teenagers exposed to smoke performed worse across every sound frequency tested, especially mid-to-high frequencies important for understanding speech. In addition, teenagers with higher cotinine levels, indicating greater exposure, were more likely to have one-sided-or unilateral-low-frequency hearing loss. Overall, the researchers conclude that their findings indicate that "tobacco smoke is independently associated with an almost 2-fold increase in the risk of hearing loss among adolescents."

Over 80 percent of the affected teenagers in the study were not aware of any problem, the researchers reported. "Milder hearing loss is not necessarily noticeable," says Dr. Lalwani. "Thus, simply asking someone whether they think they have hearing loss is insufficient."

The consequences of mild hearing loss, which researchers suspect may be due to damage to the ear's delicate blood supply, are "subtle yet serious," says Dr. Weitzman. Affected children can have difficulty understanding what is being said in the classroom and become distracted. As a result, they may be labeled as "troublemakers" or misdiagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Currently, all infants born in the United States are screened for hearing loss; however, there are no guidelines for screening a child's hearing past the early school years, says Dr. Lalwani. "Those children who are exposed to secondhand smoke," he says, "need to be regularly screened."

This work was supported, in part, by grants from the Zausmer Foundation (principal investigators: Drs Lalwani, Liu and Weitzman) and the National Institutes of Health/National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities 5P60 MD000538-06 (investigator: Dr. Weitzman).

*U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, Georgia: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coordinating Center for Health Promotion, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2006 [cited 2006 Sep 27]. Available from: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/secondhandsmoke/report/.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. K. Lalwani, Y.-H. Liu, M. Weitzman. Secondhand Smoke and Sensorineural Hearing Loss in Adolescents. Archives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, 2011; 137 (7): 655 DOI: 10.1001/archoto.2011.109

Cite This Page:

NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine. "Another danger of secondhand smoke -- hearing loss." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110718164026.htm>.
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine. (2011, July 18). Another danger of secondhand smoke -- hearing loss. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110718164026.htm
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine. "Another danger of secondhand smoke -- hearing loss." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110718164026.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Exposure to Secondhand Smoke Associated With Hearing Loss in Adolescents

July 18, 2011 Exposure to secondhand smoke is associated with increased risk of hearing loss among adolescents, according to a new ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins