"These results provide strong evidence to support that smoking is a causal factor for hearing loss and emphasise the need for tobacco control to prevent or delay the development of hearing loss," said lead author Huanhuan Hu from the National Centre for Global Health and Medicine in Japan.
For the study, published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, researchers included 50,195 people, aged between 20 to 64 years and free of hearing loss.
The participants were followed up for a maximum of eight years.
Even after adjusting for factors including occupational noise exposure, researchers noted a 1.2 to 1.6 increased risk of hearing loss among current smokers compared with never smokers.
While the association between smoking and high frequency hearing loss was stronger than that of low frequency hearing loss, the risk of both high and low frequency hearing loss increased with cigarette consumption, the researcher said.
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