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Passive smoking may affect hearing

Wednesday July 20th 2011

Inhaling second-hand smoke can nearly double the risk of hearing loss in teenagers, research has found.

A US study which assessed the impact of passive smoking in participants aged between 12 and 19 found it can lead to hearing impairment.

Although the hearing loss was not determined to be severe, scientists said it could still potentially affect a youngster's performance in school.

Researchers analysed medical data and blood samples from more than 1,500 adolescents who were given hearing tests.

Exposure to passive smoking was indicated by the blood concentrations of a chemical called cotinine which is derived from nicotine.

The study found that the chances of inner ear problems causing senso-neural hearing loss was higher in volunteers who inhaled second-hand smoke than it was with the others.

Passive smoking has already been associated with a host of health problems including increased risk of lung cancer, heart disease and severe asthma.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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