Woman holding a glass of alcohol and a cigarette

How Smoking & Drinking May Affect Hearing

Olga Lis, MS, CCC-A

Factors other than age and noise can hurt your hearing health. Did you know that hearing loss is linked to smoking and drinking? People who smoke daily or drink a lot are also more likely to lose their hearing. Here’s everything you need to know about how smoking and drinking can hurt your hearing.

Hearing loss and smoking cigarettes

People who smoke are about 70% more likely to lose their hearing than people who don’t smoke. People who smoke more than one pack a day are most likely to lose their hearing. People who smoke less are slightly less likely to lose their hearing. But people around people who smoke still have a higher chance of losing their hearing. What does smoking have to do with hearing loss? It turns out that people who smoke are more likely to lose their hearing because of several things.

Eustachian tube function: Eustachian tube function is one-way smoking that hurts your hearing. This tube connects the middle ear to the back of the throat. It keeps the air pressure in your ear stable, drains fluid, and helps keep your ear healthy. If you smoke, your Eustachian tube may stop working or get blocked at the back of your throat. This makes it more likely that you will hurt your inner ear.

Blood pressure too high: Changes in blood pressure have been linked to smoking. When you have high blood pressure, the cells in your ears must work harder, damaging them.

Less oxygen in the blood: Smoking can reduce how much oxygen you take in. Your blood oxygen levels will be lower, and your extremities, including your ears, will have less oxygen. Your ears are susceptible to these changes, and they are easily hurt when they don’t get enough oxygen.

The function of the central nervous system: Children and teens who breathe in secondhand smoke can lose their hearing. Toxins in cigarette smoke can hurt the central nervous system and even change how a person grows and develops. This can cause kids and teens to lose their hearing.

Alcohol and Loss of Hearing

You probably already know drinking too much can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, liver failure, and digestive issues. But did you know that drinking too much can make you lose your hearing?

Damage to the brain: Drinking alcohol for a long time can make you lose your hearing. Scientists have found that drinking too much alcohol can hurt the auditory cortex in the brain, which can lead to hearing loss. Even people who don’t drink too much can hurt their nerves and lose their hearing over time. Even though you can still hear everything around you, your brain can’t make sense of it. This means that you’ll lose your hearing.

Damage to the ear: Drinking alcohol can also cause damage to the ear. The cells in the inner ear can be hurt by smoking and drinking. Too much drinking can lower the amount of oxygen in the blood and increase the number of toxins in the body. This can permanently damage the ears and make it hard to hear.

People who drink moderately or socially often do so at parties or places with a lot of noise. This can cause temporary hearing loss when people drink alcohol and listen to deafening noises simultaneously; their risk of temporary hearing loss and tinnitus increases. When people drink in these places, their temporary hearing loss gets worse the more they drink. Because of this hearing loss, it can be tough to hear low-pitched sounds. It also makes you more likely to lose your hearing for good.

Book a hearing appointment with us!

Research shows that both smoking and drinking can hurt your hearing. This is another reason to stop smoking and consider how much you drink. You might also wonder if you have trouble hearing.

A baseline test can tell you what you can hear right now. If you have hearing loss, a comprehensive hearing test can help you figure out what kind of hearing loss you have and how to treat it. And if you don’t have hearing loss, a baseline test is the basis for future hearing tests. You will be able to see if your hearing health has changed by comparing your next test to your baseline test. Call us right now to schedule a hearing test.