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Cigarette Smoking, Smoking Cessation, and Risk of Hearing Loss in Women

      Abstract

      Background

      Previous studies demonstrated higher risk of hearing loss among cigarette smokers, but longitudinal data on whether the risk is influenced by smoking cessation are limited. We prospectively investigated relations between smoking, smoking cessation, and risk of self-reported moderate or worse hearing loss among 81,505 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II (1991-2013).

      Methods

      Information on smoking and hearing status was obtained from validated biennial questionnaires. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate multivariable-adjusted relative risks (MVRR, 95% confidence interval).

      Results

      During 1,533,214 person-years of follow-up, 2760 cases of hearing loss were reported. Smoking was associated with higher risk of hearing loss and the risk tended to be higher with greater number of pack-years smoked. Compared with never smokers, the MVRR (95% confidence interval) among past smokers with 20+ pack-years of smoking was 1.30 (1.09-1.55) and 1.21 (1.02-1.43) for current smokers. The magnitude of elevated risk diminished with greater time since smoking cessation. Compared with never smokers, the MVRR among smokers who quit <5 years prior was 1.43 (1.17-1.75); 5-9 years prior was 1.27 (1.03-1.56); 10-14 years prior was 1.17 (0.96-1.41); and plateaued thereafter. Additional adjustment for pack-years smoking attenuated the results.

      Conclusions

      The higher risk of hearing loss associated with smoking may diminish over time after quitting.

      Keywords

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