Cigarette smoking and hearing loss: Lessons from the young adult periodic examinations in Israel (YAPEIS) database

Yehonatan Sharabi*, Idit Reshef-Haran, Moshe Burstein, Arieh Eldad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Some studies have indicated a possible link between cigarette smoking and hearing loss. Objectives: To analyze the association between smoking and hearing loss, other than that induced by noise, and to characterize the type of HL impairment found in smokers. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional study in 13,308 men aged 20-68 (median 34.6 years) who underwent a hearing test as part of a routine periodic examination. For each subject, age, smoking status (current, past or non-smokers) and number of cigarettes per day were noted and a hearing test was performed. The test was performed in a sealed, soundproof room by an experienced audiologist and included pure tone audiometry of 250-8,000 Hz. The audiograms were analyzed and subjects were accordingly divided into two groups: those with HL and at least one of the following impairments in at least one ear: sensorineural, conductive or mixed; and those with no hearing loss (control). Audiograms showing HL typical to noise exposure were excluded. Results: The prevalence of any type of HL among subjects < 35 years was 4.5%, compared to 10.5% among those > 35 years (P < 0.0001). A significantly higher incidence of any type of HL was found in current (11.8%) and past smokers (11.7%) than in non-smokers (8.1%) (P < 0.0001). The risk increment of the smoking status for developing HL among subjects under age 35 was 43%, and 17% among those above 35 years. Both mild, flat, sensorineural impairment and conductive impairment were found to be associated particularly with smoking (odds ratio 2.2 and 1.9, respectively). Conclusions: The incidence of HL unrelated to noise exposure is higher in smokers than in non-smokers, and in young adults the effect is greater.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1118-1120
Number of pages3
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Cigarette smoking
  • Hearing loss
  • Periodic examination
  • Population study
  • Young adults


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