If you are a smoker and a parent of teenagers, here is one more reason to kick the harmful habit. You may be ruining your kid’s hearing. A recent research study has concluded that exposure to secondhand smoke almost doubles the risk of hearing loss in adolescents in Mesa.
This scientific finding is of huge significance to public health considering that over 50 percent of all U.S. children are exposed to secondhand smoke on a daily basis. The way smoking is managed in public places and in private homes should be examined along with how often kids get screened for hearing problems.
What are the hazards of secondhand smoke for teenagers?
The dangers of secondhand smoke are well documented and have become common public knowledge. Anyone living with a smoker is more likely to die from heart disease or lung cancer. Kids who grow up exposed to secondhand smoke have an increased risk of developing asthma, asthma attacks are more severe and it also leads to more than 750,000 otitis media, or middle ear infections, every year.
How was the research study conducted?
This new research is the first to link adolescent hearing loss in Mesa to secondhand smoke. More than 1,500 kids from 12 to 19 years of age participated in the nationwide study. Each was first inspected in their home setting, then they were given comprehensive hearing tests. Blood tests were administered to determine levels of a metabolite of nicotine referred to as the cotinine chemical.
The kids who were subjected to secondhand cigarette smoke, as seen from the metabolite in their blood, were significantly more likely to develop sensorineural hearing loss. This damage can result from problems with the cochlea, which is the snail-shaped hearing organ in the inner ear. This type of hearing deficiency usually occurs as a result of aging, or in children born deaf.
What types of hearing loss were discovered in teenagers exposed to secondhand smoke?
The study found that the teenagers who were exposed to secondhand smoke did not perform well with each individual sound frequency that was tested, particularly middle to high frequencies that are crucial for speech comprehension. Also, the kids with high cotinine level, which suggest even greater smoke exposure, were more susceptible to one-sided or unilateral low-frequency hearing loss. The final conclusion due to the research findings was that second smoke can double the risk of potential hearing loss in teens.
Most of the kids who participated in the research study were not aware of any hearing issue. Minor hearing loss can sometimes go undetected. Affected teens may get distracted easily or have trouble comprehending classroom lectures. Sometimes these gets are misdiagnosed with ADHD or labeled troublemakers.
Currently, all newborns in the U.S. are given hearing tests, but there are no set guidelines for children beyond early elementary school age. All kids who are exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke need to have their hearing tested on a routine basis.
If you have concerns about hearing loss in teenagers due to secondhand smoke in Mesa, contact Fynes Audiology online or by calling (480) 456-0176. Dr. Cassandra Fynes is a caring expert in her field who can help you with your hearing needs.