No - it isn't a misprint. Studies have shown that smoking can not only damage your lungs, but also your hearing
Respiratory disease is one thing - but damage to the ear is also a possibility
I lost two dear friends at the end of last year through lung cancer. I am therefore probably the last person to make light of a serious subject. My sister also died of the disease - granted this was late on in her life of being a "career smoker".
As far as I am aware, none of them had noticeable hearing problems - but that is missing the point. When I learnt that the Tobacco Control journal recently published findings that secondary smoke inhalation - as well as smoking itself - can increase the risk of hearing loss, I felt I had to share this with you.
Smoking starves your body of oxygen in so many ways
Without getting too technical or scientific, it would appear that a degree hearing loss is caused by the starvation of oxygen in blood vessels around the ear - ultimately affecting your hearing. It all makes sense when you think about it.
The relationship of smoking and oxygen starvation within certain body cells seems to be a well-recognised fact. For instance, my wife is a beauty therapist and can instantly detect a smoker by the poor skin quality of the facial tissue. It's that obvious.
However, evidence that your hearing is being adversely affected by smoking is not so obvious because it is so gradual.
Secondary smoking can also contribute
Too much second-hand cigarette smoke can have the same effect. The landlord of our local pub - a non-smoker - contracted lung cancer during the days when you could smoke in public places. How many of us have had our hearing affected through secondary smoke inhalation? Too many, I expect. Apparently it can increase the risk by up to 30%!
At the time of writing there is a TV campaign here in the UK advising you to consult your GP if you have a persistent cough lasting 3 weeks or more. The benefits are simple: if it turns out to be bad news, it can be tackled earlier rather than later; but if it is good news you enjoy instant peace of mind.
Also see your local GP or a private professional about changes to your hearing
Suffering from a hearing disability is nowhere near as serious in terms of being life-threatening - unless you are crossing the road without looking and get run over by a bus!
And again, either way there is a positive outcome from being seen by a professional. If you have your hearing checked and it turns out to be a build up of wax, your doctor or private hearing aid audiologist can recommend an ear hygiene regime to reduce it. Odds are that your hearing will improve.
Alternatively, if you do have a measurable and treatable hearing impairment - whether through excess smoking, a childhood illness, or simply by the ageing process - this could be addressed and improved by hearing aids in many cases.
Hearing assessments are freely available with the NHS, and equally free privately at your local hearing centre. In either case there is no price to pay for peace of mind.
Your GP can check your hearing as well as advise you on how stop smoking. However, if you feel that your hearing loss is your main concern, you may wish to address that immediately and free of charge, privately, by calling 0800 612 7992.