On May 31, 2014 the World Health Organization will recognize World No Tobacco Day.
Every year WHO highlights the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption and call on governments to raise taxes on cigarettes. Tobacco kills nearly six million people each year, of which more than 600 000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke.
When we think of the dangers of tobacco, we often think about heart disease and lung damage. And it is true – according to Health Canada, smoking is the most important cause of premature death in Canada.
Each year, there are more than 230,000 deaths in Canada. Each day, 100 Canadians die of a smoking-related illness. The main causes of smoking-related deaths are cancers, cardiovascular diseases and respiratory diseases and exposure to second-hand smoke alone caused 831 deaths among Canadian adults in 2002.
But believe it or not, tobacco can impact your hearing as well. The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health reported in 1989 that current smokers were 1.69 times as likely to have a hearing loss as nonsmokers. This relationship remained for those without a history of occupational noise exposure and in analyses excluding those with non-age-related hearing loss.
Medscape.com reported in an article entitled Prenatal Smoke Exposure Triples Teenaged Hearing Loss that the discovery that adolescents whose mothers had smoked during pregnancy had defects in both high-frequency and low-frequency hearing suggest that the developing auditory system is damaged by in utero exposure to tobacco smoke.
M.J. DeSousa, our Director of Professional Practice isn’t surprised by these statistics. Connect Hearing has always encouraged Canadians to come in and visit for a free hearing test.
One reason for this is because they want people to understand everything there is to know about hearing safety, and DeSousa says sometimes people are surprised what can constitute a hearing hazard.
“People often have an attitude that loud noises are the only threats to hearing, and yes that’s true,” says DeSousa. “But what amazes me is people often see the threat to their hearing health as being from outside noise sources – a deafening lawn mower, loud music, career noise hazards for example – but they don’t recognize the threats from within. Your ears are a part of your body, and what you put into your body affects every aspect of your health. Your diet affects your hearing. Alcohol affects your hearing. Fatty foods affect your hearing. And yes, smoking can also have a detrimental affect on your hearing.”
So this World No Tobacco Day, make your voice heard loud and clear - say no to tobacco. Because we don't want to see your health - or your hearing - go up in smoke.
Here is a recent PSA animation for World No-Tobacco Day 2014: