» RELATED: Just one cigarette can lead to daily smoking, study says
People who currently smoked were 60 percent more likely to develop high-frequency hearing loss, which makes it difficult to understand speech in noisy environments. Smokers were also 20 percent more likely to develop low-frequency hearing loss, which makes it challenging to hear deep voices.
"With a large sample size, long follow-up period, and objective assessment of hearing loss, our study provides strong evidence that smoking is an independent risk factor of hearing loss," coauthor Huanhuan Hu said in a statement.
Researchers also said chances increased with the number of cigarettes smoked a day and that hearing loss risks declined within five years for those who quit.
While they didn’t note why smoking is linked to hearing loss, they said they hope to continue their investigations to “emphasize the need for tobacco control to prevent or delay the development of hearing loss.”
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