If children are exposed to passive smoking, it increases their risk of developing hearing deficiency in adolescence! This deficiency occurs mostly in the low frequencies. The reason for this surprising discovery lies in the repeated ear infections caused by tobacco smoke during the early years of life.
Researchers in New York monitored adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19, all of whom answered a series of questions relating to their state of health and family history. They also underwent hearing tests and a number of blood tests to determine their level of cotinine, a metabolite of nicotine. The purpose of these blood tests was to determine their degree of exposure to tobacco.
The results appear unambiguous. The higher their cotinine level, the greater the level of hearing loss. Passive smoking increases the risk of repeated ear infections during early childhood: ear infections can cause damage to the ear drum and thus lead to hearing deficiency. Passive smoking can also affect hearing development in the very young.
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