Foetal exposure to tobacco smoke tied to hearing

smokeSMLChildren exposed to tobacco smoke in the womb may be at higher risk of hearing loss in later years, according to a recent article in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery.

Researchers from New York University (NYU) examined data from almost 1 000 children aged 12 to 15 who took part in the 2005/2006 National Health Examination Survey in the United States. They found that about 16 percent of them had been exposed to tobacco smoke while in the womb.

These teenagers had evidence of hearing loss and were nearly three times more likely to have one-sided, low-frequency hearing loss compared to youngsters without such exposures.

The study could not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between smoking during pregnancy and hearing outcomes in offspring, only an association.

“This is an effect which has been described previously for the adult population, so it is logical that it would also apply to children of smokers,” Dr Ian Storper from Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City told HealthDay News.

The new study “proves that not smoking or avoiding being around others who smoke can [not only] increase the likelihood of a healthy newborn, but also decrease the chances of other diseases later on,” Dr Martin Chavez from Winthrop University Hospital in New York said.

Source: HealthDay News

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    Health-e News is South Africa's dedicated health news service and home to OurHealth citizen journalism. Follow us on Twitter @HealtheNews

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