Question: I recently heard that cigarette smoking can cause hearing loss. Is this true?
Answer: Research involving adults and animals exposed to cigarettes identified nicotinic-like receptors in the inner ear where hearing signals are sent to the brain. This finding suggests that cigarette smoking may have direct ototoxic effects on the hearing nerve function, and therefore affect the transmission of hearing signals.
These studies and several others have tied smoking to an increased risk of hearing loss in humans. In addition, smoking may have negative consequences on hearing through its impact on oxygen within blood vessels supplying the auditory system. Cigarette smoking is a lifestyle choice that may, through a combination of chemical effects on the body, be a factor in hearing loss later in life. It is a known risk factor for other chronic diseases.