Smoking May Hamper Ear Health
After Ear Surgery, Smokers Are More Likely Than Nonsmokers to Have Ear Complications
Sept. 18, 2007 -- Need another reason to quit smoking? It might help your
New research shows that smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to have
complications and worse hearing after surgery to correct chronic problems in
their middle ear.
That's according to J. Matthew Conoyer, MD, and colleagues at Vanderbilt University and the
Otology Group of Vanderbilt.
They reviewed the medical records
of more than 1,100 people who got surgery to fix chronic ear problems at the
Otology Group of Vanderbilt in Nashville from 1990 to 2005.
The patients ranged in age from 1-83 (average age: 34). Most patients -- 63%
-- were nonsmokers, 21% were current smokers, 5% were former smokers, and
smoking status wasn't available for the remaining 11% of the group.
Tobacco can irritate the ears, and the new study suggests that surgery
doesn't totally erase those problems.
After ear surgery, current smokers had worse overall hearing than nonsmokers
and were more likely to need follow-up ear operations, the study shows.
But quitting smoking -- and staying smoke-free for five years -- erased
"The hearing results and outcomes return to the same as nonsmokers after
five years of smoking cessation," write the researchers.
Their findings were presented today in Washington at the annual meeting of
the American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.
Of course, the ears aren't the only part of the body that tobacco harms.
Smoking is often linked to lung cancer (though not all lung cancer patients
are smokers). Smoking also makes heart attacks, stroke, kidney disease, high
blood pressure, and many other health problems more likely.
to quit smoking? It usually takes a couple of attempts to stop smoking for
good, but reams of research show it's