Smoking linked to hearing loss, Alzheimer’s

By Ling-Mei Wong

Smoking not only kills, but deafens people and robs them of their memory as well. It causes more than 440,000 deaths each year, or nearly one in five deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.

Lung cancer was most deadly cancer for Boston’s Asians from 2006 to 2008, ahead of liver and colorectal cancers, according to the Boston Public Health Commission. The lethal consequences of smoking are a clear reason to quit.

Other effects of smoking are less well-known. Hearing loss in teenagers has been linked to secondhand smoking, according to the Archives of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. Teens living in a smoking household had an 83 percent higher chance of losing their hearing in the lowest and highest frequencies, compared to teens in nonsmoking homes.

The study urged health care providers to add secondhand smoking as a risk for hearing loss, as 82 percent of the participants didn’t realize they had difficulty hearing.

Smoking’s dangers now include the increased likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s, which causes memory loss and results in death. It is untreatable and one in eight 65-year-olds have the disease.

A review of 43 studies examining the link between smoking and Alzheimer’s found smokers had a 72 percent greater likelihood of developing dementia, found researchers at the University of California, San Francisco in 2011. The researchers excluded industry-sponsored studies, which found smokers had a lower risk.

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This post is also available in: Chinese

About Ling-Mei Wong 黃靈美

Editor of the Sampan, the only bilingual Chinese-English newspaper in New England

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