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Posted on Thursday, June 19, 2014

Passive Smokers at Risk for Hearing Loss

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Hearing is dependent on the small hair cells within the ear. Exposure to toxins that destroy these hair cells could damage hearing. Thus a study indicating smokers are more likely to develop hearing loss is not surprising. However, the study also found that passive smokers had an increased risk of developing hearing loss.

A recent study reported on by Science Daily indicates that smokers are 15.1% more likely to develop hearing loss and passive smokers have as much as 28% increase in the likelihood of developing hearing loss. The correlation of hearing loss and smoking or passive smoking is thought to be the result of toxins that damage the hair cells within the inner ear, but researchers also theorize that this increase might be the result of an overall unhealthy lifestyle of smokers. The study showed that people who quit smoking decreased their likelihood of developing hearing loss and it is suggested that this may be the result of also adopting a healthier lifestyle. This indicates it’s not just about what we take in that can be detrimental to our hearing health, it’s also about what we leave out.

Protecting Hearing with Good Nutrition

There are things people who are exposed to toxins, at work or outside the workplace, can do to help improve their chances of preventing hearing loss. In fact, there are two important nutrients that help maintain good hearing—no matter what its current level, folic acid (also called folate) and B12.

Folic acid is a B vitamin complex that helps make healthy new red blood cells. Lack of folic acid can negatively affect homocysteine levels which can slow down blood flow. Good blood flow is essential in bringing nutrients to the small capillaries of the ears, thus folic acid’s crucial role in good hearing health.

B12 and folic acid work in similar manners, keeping blood cells happy and lowering homocysteine levels to improve or maintain good hearing..

B12 attaches naturally to proteins in food and is released through the digestion process of our stomachs. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, when B12 is added to foods, and it is routinely, it does not require this releasing process. The key to getting enough B12 is to consume a variety of lean meats, dairy, fortified foods, and supplements.

If you'd like to learn more about hearing loss, hearing heath, and hearing aids click HERE to DOWNLOAD our free guide to hearing health!

References
Manchester University. "Smokers, passive smokers more likely to suffer hearing loss, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 June 2014. .

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