Cigarette smoking and hearing loss: the epidemiology of hearing loss study.

PubMed ID: 9624024

Author(s): Cruickshanks KJ, Klein R, Klein BE, Wiley TL, Nondahl DM, Tweed TS. Cigarette smoking and hearing loss: the epidemiology of hearing loss study. JAMA. 1998 Jun 3;279(21):1715-9.

Journal: Jama, Volume 279, Issue 21, Jun 1998

CONTEXT Clinical studies have suggested that cigarette smoking may be associated with hearing loss, a common condition affecting older adults.

OBJECTIVE To evaluate the association between smoking and hearing loss.

DESIGN Population-based, cross-sectional study.

SETTING Community of Beaver Dam, Wis.

PARTICIPANTS Adults aged 48 to 92 years. Of 4541 eligible subjects, 3753 (83%) participated in the hearing study.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES The examination included otoscopy, screening tympanometry, and pure-tone air-conduction and bone-conduction audiometry. Smoking history was ascertained by self-report. Hearing loss was defined as a pure-tone average (0.5, 1, 2, and 4 kHz) greater than 25-dB hearing level in the worse ear.

RESULTS After adjusting for other factors, current smokers were 1.69 times as likely to have a hearing loss as nonsmokers (95% confidence interval, 1.31-2.17). This relationship remained for those without a history of occupational noise exposure and in analyses excluding those with non-age-related hearing loss. There was weak evidence of a dose-response effect. Nonsmoking participants who lived with a smoker were more likely to have a hearing loss than those who were not exposed to a household member who smoked (odds ratio, 1.94; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-3.74).

CONCLUSIONS These data suggest that environmental exposures may play a role in age-related hearing loss. If longitudinal studies confirm these findings, modification of smoking habits may prevent or delay age-related declines in hearing sensitivity.