PTI | Last Modified - Nov 20, 2012, 03:27 PM IST
Wait! Get away from that cloud of smoke. Cigarette smoke is harmful! and not the one you are making but the one that you are breathing in.
Passive smoking has already been known for causing several serious health hazards. Now, a new study has claimed that teenagers exposed to second-hand smoke are twice as likely to suffer from hearing loss.
According to the scientists, passive smoking affects the blood supply to the area which makes it harder for the person to understand speech and has been linked to poor academic performance and disruptive behavior in school.
The New York University study, which involved over 1,500 people aged 12 to 19 years, found that those exposed to second-hand smoke were more likely to have "Sensorineural" hearing loss, which is caused by problems with the cochlea- the snail-shaped hearing organ of the inner ear.
"It's the type of hearing loss that usually tends to occur as one gets older or among children born with congenital deafness," said Dr Michael Weitzman, who led the study. The findings add to the catalogue of health problems already attributed to second-hand smoke, including increased risks of asthma, heart disease and lung cancer, the Daily Mail reported.
For the study, the researchers carried out extensive hearing tests of the teenagers. They were also given blood tests for the chemical cotinine, a substance produced when the body breaks down nicotine.
Those teens exposed to second-hand smoke, as measured by cotinine in their blood, were found to have sensorineural hearing loss than those who were not passive smokers.
Results of the study, published in journal Archives of Otolaryngology, also showed that about 80 per cent of those affected were not aware of it.
Study co-author Dr Anil Lalwani said: "More than half of all children in the U.S. are exposed to second-hand smoke, so our finding has huge public health implications."
He added: "Milder hearing loss is not necessarily noticeable. Thus, simply asking someone whether they think they have hearing loss is insufficient."
So if you think you are having trouble hearing things, you could be a victim of somebody else’s smoking!
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