Hearing Loss Linked to Prenatal Smoking


In the past few years, many discoveries have been made about the type of damage that smoking during a pregnancy can cause. A particular study, recently published on the JAMA Otolaryngology, describes one of such latest findings.

Often, teenagers will encounter trouble hearing, and this had been attributed for a long time to the use of headphones, the proclivity to attend loud concerts and other similar causes. However, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that took into account youths between the ages of 12 and 15 in 2005 and 2006, confirmed that about 16% of the parents admitted to prenatal smoke exposure, and subsequently, the children in this subgroup were three times as likely to experience hearing loss as the children whose mothers had not smoked during the pregnancy.

Smoking as an epidemic

The widespread use of tobacco means that pregnant women are more and more commonly smoking during the early stages, even if they do quit down the line. However, it has been discovered that those that smoked even just for the first trimester, many times before they even found out they were pregnant, also had repercussions on the health of their children.

The only viable solution is quitting smoking preemptively, as due to the nature of pregnancy and the cycles and lifestyle of a particular woman, several weeks could pass before a pregnancy is detected. This could lead to the mother inadvertently smoking or engaging in other damaging acts even if she willingly quits them down the line.

Among the consequences of loss of hearing in adolescents, the natural issue of a potential disability is not top of the list. Studies report that loss of hearing can result in a diminished IQ, it could also have social and academic effects, and could even result in the child dropping out of school or engaging in damaging behavior.

Image: Freedigitalphotos.net

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