Study: Second-Hand Smoke Can Cause Hearing Loss in Teens

Teenagers who live in a household where someone smokes cigarettes has an 83 percent greater chance of developing hearing loss, according to a study published in the journal Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.  The findings build on previous research that has linked second-hand smoke exposure with respiratory problems, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and asthma.

The study authors, from New York University Lagone Medical Center, noted that teens aren't routinely screened for hearing loss but that the finding may now warrant screening for those who are exposed to secondhand smoke.

"Health care providers (ie, physicians and nurse practitioners) should add SHS exposure to the list of risk factors for hearing loss and refer these young adults for complete audiologic evaluation to identify early hearing loss," the researchers wrote, given that 82 percent of the study participants with hearing loss didn't recognize that they were having difficulty hearing.

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