Secondhand Smoke Impacts Teens Hearing
July 20, 2011 by staff
“We know that secondhand smoke is associated with ear infections and has been well established for some time. And there are plenty of effects of secondhand smoke in other systems,” said study coauthor Dr. Anil Lalwani, professor of otolaryngology and pediatrics at New York University Langone Medical Center.
“One of the factors associated with early hearing loss in adults is exposure to noise and smoke,” he said. “So we wanted to see if there are harmful consequences of exposure to secondhand smoke to children who do not really smoke but are exposed to smoke.”
Lalwani and his fellow researchers from the center of gaze in the risk factors of sensorineural hearing loss in the U.S. adolescents between 12 and 19 for the study, published in the July issue of Archives of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.
Sensorineural hearing loss is irreversible and either stays the same or progresses over time, Lalwani said.
The sample included 1533 people who participated in the National Health and Nutrition 2005 to 2006.
Participants were interviewed about a number of things related to their health and family medical history, exposure to secondhand smoke and their own recognition of hearing impairment.
Young people also underwent a physical examination that included tests of cotinine – a byproduct of nicotine – and hearing tests.
Both low and high frequency hearing were tested. Low-frequency hearing gives an idea of?? How things sound heavy for people and is where the vowels are said Lalwani. High frequency hearing is where the consonants, allowing individuals to distinguish between words that sounds similar, and provides clarity to the audience.
“What we found was within the average low and high frequency, the hearing was worse in individuals exposed to snuff consumption, according to statistics of low frequency,” Lalwani said. “What this, again, speaking of individuals exposed to secondhand smoke is at risk of hearing loss.”
“If now extends to the prior identification of adults that adults who smoke have a greater hearing loss or accelerated what it says is the damage begins to occur very early, even when not directly smoke but are exposed hand smoke. ”
The study found that 82 percent of children with hearing loss did not complain of difficulty hearing, so they never knew they had a hearing loss – potentially putting them at risk for progressive hearing loss if exposure is continuous, Lalwani said.
The researchers describe a number of limitations to the study data andanlysis. The history of prenatal exposure to secondhand smoke was available for some and not all participants. The duration of exposure to secondhand smoke and the history of noise exposure of adolescents were not available.
Lalwani said the work lays the foundation for future studies. The researchers have submitted proposals to the national funding agency and are looking for other databases in other years, he said.
Robert Harrison, a senior scientist at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, said he was surprised by the results because they cannot see how the smoke could affect audiology in the inner ear to the point of producing hearing loss.
Although a bit skeptical about the direct effect of secondhand smoke, Harrison said the survey data stand and is “statistically significant”.
“There is some relationship, but I suspect there is no causal relationship, because of the possibility of recreational noise exposure. Or is it something to do with parental exposure early in pregnancy or early life relation to otitis media (middle ear infection), “said Harrison, who sits on the board of the Hearing Foundation of Canada.
Roberta Ferrence, a senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, said that usually with health problems associated with secondhand smoke, duration of exposure appears to be the most important factor.
“People always think active smoking is much more serious – and in general it is. But it depends on what age is exposed and for how long,” said Ferrence, who is also deputy director of the Research Unit in Ontario snuff University of Toronto.
“Most children do not start smoking until they are at least 12 or 14 or 16, while they may be exposed from the womb, so you can start with an extra 12, 14 years of smoke exposure second hand. And, in particular at a time when your body is developing, a baby is undoubtedly much more vulnerable than a child 14 years old. ”
Young children also breathe faster, so you can be the result of internal exposure to smoke, he said.
In the U.S., Lalwani said hearing test performed at birth and then again when children enter primary school, but there is no mandatory assessment of adolescents.
In Canada, there is little evidence of hearing in children than the first hearing screening in high-risk cases, Harrison said.
“I used to be that schools made an assessment from time to time…. but there are very few times when a child really get a hearing test unless there is a problem with the audience.”
Harrison said he would like to see a hearing test is done when children enter school and later when they enter high school.
“I think it would be useful for a routine hearing test at the stadiums, because a mild sensorineural hearing loss can interfere with children’s school performance,” he said, adding that students can miss things if you sit in the back of a busy, noisy classroom.
Lalwani said that what is clear in recent decades is the realization of the “incredible consequences” to passers-by secondhand smoke, either for their own cognitive development, sensory deprivation, or a cardiac or respiratory disease.
“This has enormous implications for public health.”
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