Does smoking increase your risk of developing tinnitus, or, if you already have it, does cigarette smoking worsen the condition marked by phantom noises such as ringing or buzzing?
If you’re a smoker who experiences tinnitus, there’s good news and bad news (besides the bad news of being a smoker to begin with). The good news is that there’s as of yet, no direct, causal evidence linking nicotine intake and tinnitus. But the bad news is, according to a meta-analysis review of 20 studies, there is sufficient evidence to conclude that smoking is at least associated with tinnitus, warns HealthyHearing.com.
Smokers are more likely to have tinnitus than non-smokers. But that doesn’t mean that smoking itself causes tinnitus. However, what is known about smoking’s physiological effects are: 1) It decreases oxygen levels in the blood; 2) Constricts blood vessels, including those in the inner ear; 3) Interferes with chemical-messenger communication (neurotransmission) in the auditory nerve, which controls brain interpretation of sounds; 4) Increases the likelihood for ear infections
Healthy Hearing also reports more good news for the tinnitus-sufferer that smokes: Within minutes after having your last cigarette, the body’s amazing ability to seek homeostasis (balance) results in lower blood pressure and increased circulation.
And no surprise here, the longer you go after your last cigarette, the more the body regenerates itself. Oxygen levels rise, eventually returning to normal, while the level of carbon monoxide decreases. HealthyHearing.com also references a study of 50,000 Japanese workers from last year that revealed smokers were 60 percent more likely to develop high-frequency hearing loss compared to non-smokers.
The moral of the story: if you smoke, quit.