Cigarette Smoking, Passive Smoking, Alcohol Consumption, and Hearing Loss
The objective of this large population-based cross-sectional study was to evaluate the association between smoking, passive smoking, alcohol consumption, and hearing loss. The study sample was a subset of the UK Biobank Resource, 164,770 adults aged between 40 and 69 years who completed a speech-in-noise hearing test (the Digit Triplet Test). Hearing loss was defined as speech recognition in noise in the better ear poorer than 2 standard deviations below the mean with reference to young normally hearing listeners. In multiple logistic regression controlling for potential confounders, current smokers were more likely to have a hearing loss than non-smokers (odds ratio (OR) 1.15, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.09–1.21). Among non-smokers, those who reported passive exposure to tobacco smoke were more likely to have a hearing loss (OR 1.28, 95 %CI 1.21–1.35). For both smoking and passive smoking, there was evidence of a dose-response effect. Those who consume alcohol were less likely to have a hearing loss than lifetime teetotalers. The association was similar across three levels of consumption by volume of alcohol (lightest 25 %, OR 0.61, 95 %CI 0.57–0.65; middle 50 % OR 0.62, 95 %CI 0.58–0.66; heaviest 25 % OR 0.65, 95 %CI 0.61–0.70). The results suggest that lifestyle factors may moderate the risk of hearing loss. Alcohol consumption was associated with a protective effect. Quitting or reducing smoking and avoiding passive exposure to tobacco smoke may also help prevent or moderate age-related hearing loss.
Key wordsage-related hearing loss presbycusis smoking passive smoking alcohol
Thank you to Dr. David Nondahl for statistical advice. DRM was supported by the intramural program of the Medical Research Council [grant U135097130]. KJC was supported by R37AG11099, R01AG021917, and an unrestricted grant from Research to Prevent Blindness. The Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit is funded by the National Institute for Health Research. This paper presents independent research funded in part by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, or the Department of Health. This research was facilitated by the Manchester Biomedical Research Centre. This research was conducted using the UK Biobank Resource.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Allen N, Sudlow C, Downey P, Peakman T, Danesh J, Elliott P, Gallacher J, Green J, Matthews P, Pell J, Sprosen T, Collins R (2012) UK Biobank: current status and what it means for epidemiology. Health Policy Technol 1Google Scholar
- Barone JA, Peters JM, Garabrant DH, Bernstein L, Krebsbach R (1987) Smoking as a risk factor in noise-induced hearing loss. J Occup Environ Med 29:741–745Google Scholar
- Burr H, Lund SP, Bügel Sperling B, Kristensen TS, Poulsen OM (2005) Smoking and height as risk factors for prevalence and 5-year incidence of hearing loss. A questionnaire-based follow-up study of employees in Denmark aged 18-59 years exposed and unexposed to noise. Int J Audiol 44:531–539PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Cruickshanks KJ, Zhan W, Zhong W (2010) Epidemiology of age-related hearing impairment. The Aging Auditory System:259-274Google Scholar
- Dawes P, Fortnum H, Moore DR, Emsley R, Norman P, Cruickshanks KJ, Davis AC, Edmondson-Jones M, McCormack A, Lutman ME, Munro K (2014) Hearing in middle age: a population snapshot of 40-69 year olds in the UK. Ear hearGoogle Scholar
- Foppa M, Fuchs FD, Preissler L, Andrighetto A, Rosito GA, Duncan BB (2002) Red wine with the noon meal lowers post-meal blood pressure: a randomized trial in centrally obese, hypertensive patients. J Stud Alcohol Drugs 63:247Google Scholar
- Fransen E, Topsakal V, Hendrickx J-J, Van Laer L, Huyghe JR, Van Eyken E, Lemkens N, Hannula S, Mä ki-Torkko E, Jensen M (2008) Occupational noise, smoking, and a high body mass index are risk factors for age-related hearing impairment and moderate alcohol consumption is protective: a European population-based multicenter study. JARO J Assoc Res Otolaryngol 9:264–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Health and Safety Executive (1989) Noise at work. Guidance on regulation. HMSO, LondonGoogle Scholar
- House Of Commons Science and Technology Committee (2012) Alcohol guidelines. The Stationery Office Limited, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Itoh A, Nakashima T, Arao H, Wakai K, Tamakoshi A, Kawamura T, Ohno Y (2001) Smoking and drinking habits as risk factors for hearing loss in the elderly: epidemiological study of subjects undergoing routine health checks in Aichi, Japan. Publ Health 115:192–196Google Scholar
- Office for National Statistics (2012) General Lifestyle Survey 2010. InGoogle Scholar
- Ronksley PE, Brien SE, Turner BJ, Mukamal KJ, Ghali WA (2011) Association of alcohol consumption with selected cardiovascular disease outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Br Med J 342Google Scholar
- Susmano A, Rosenbush SW (1988) Hearing loss and ischemic heart disease. Otol Neurotol 9:403–408Google Scholar
- The Royal College of Psychiatrists (2011) Alcohol-use disorders: diagnosis, assessment and management of harmful drinking and alcohol dependence. The British Psychological Society, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Vlaming MSMG, Kollmeier B, Dreschler WA, Rainer M, Wouters J, Gover B, Mohammadh Y, Houtgast T (2011) HearCom: Hearing in the Communication Society. Acta Acoust United Ac 97:175–192Google Scholar
- World Health Organisation (2013) Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI). Tobacco control country profiles. http://www.who.int/tobacco/surveillance/policy/country_profile/en/index.html. Accessed 15 Sept 2013