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Second hand smoke being linked to hearing loss in teenagers

Exposure to secondhand smoke in all likelihood could negatively affect hearing development in children and increase the possibility of hearing loss during their teens, a new study shows. The results of these findings may warrant screening tests for loss of hearing amongst children that have been exposed to secondhand smoke, researchers cautioned. Around 60 percent of children in the US are exposed to secondary smoke. These adolescents are at higher risk for many health problems, from behavioral difficulties to respiratory infections and otitis media (acute ear infection). Infants whose mothers smoke while pregnant are also at a higher risk for lower birth weight and many other problems. “Secondhand smoke may also have the potential to have an impact on auditory development,” something that has significant implications for U.S. public health, the researchers wrote. In this case study, they questioned 1,533 teens concerning their health, and family medical history, exposure to secondary smoke and their awareness of whether they had a hearing problem or not. The teenagers were given physicals, which included testing for cotinine (a byproduct of nicotine exposure) and audio tests. Teenagers who have been exposed to secondary smoke have much higher rates of low- and high-frequency hearing impairment than those who were not exposed. The study also noted that considering the cotinine levels, the severity of hearing loss also depended on the amount of exposure they had had. The study also pointed out that more than 80 percent of the teenagers suffering hearing loss were unaware that they had a problem. These findings are published in the July issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. Unfortunately teens are not screened when there is an absence of the risk factors for the condition. The study also added that teenagers should be educated regarding the risk factors for hearing loss, such as secondhand smoke. More information The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more facts on the effects of secondhand smoke.

Added by: Admin   |   1 Aug 2011