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Smoking May Not Harm Hearing

The findings run counter to previous research

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 17, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- There doesn't appear to be any link between smoking and hearing loss, according to a study in the November issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison study found no significant association between blood levels of cotinine, a compound indicating nicotine intake, and hearing loss.

Researchers studied the relationship between hearing loss and cotinine levels in 197 people with new hearing loss and 394 people with no hearing loss.

No clear pattern emerged linking smoking with impaired hearing, the researchers report. They found that, among study subjects with hearing loss, 110 were current or past smokers, while 83 had never smoked. Similar statistics arose among individuals with good hearing -- 224 were current or past smokers, while 164 said they had never smoked.

However, in a prepared statement, the Wisconsin researchers note that their findings contradict those of a previous study, which did find "associations between prevalent hearing loss and current smoking and environmental tobacco smoke exposure in the home." They believe the results of longer-term studies "may help clarify these associations."

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about hearing loss.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives Journals, news release, Nov. 15, 2004
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