Tinnitus is a chronic ringing or hissing noise, usually in only one ear. It can be perceived as fullness in the ear, whistling, pulsing, or other sounds. The relationship between smoking and tinnitus is particularly strong. Each cigarette you smoke has a 2% chance of increasing the severity of your tinnitus.
According to recent studies, tobacco use impacts tinnitus — a condition that has no cure and can only be managed through behavioral changes or medical treatments. Read this article to find out how smoking affects tinnitus and how you can control the same.
What Is Tinnitus?
When you feel buzzing, ringing, or humming sound in one or both ears, it may be due to tinnitus. It can also sound like;
- rushing water,
- wind whistling,
- cicadas, or any number of other sounds.
The symptoms are sometimes associated with hearing loss and may not be noticed until the hearing loss becomes severe. Loud noises may also cause this condition. Although most people get rid of the problem by gradually reducing their noise exposure, some people choose to stop smoking completely or reduce their dosage over time.
Smoking Impacts Your Tinnitus Symptoms
Smoking may boost the likelihood of developing tinnitus since inhaling cigarette smoke irritates the lining inside your ears and throat, which then disrupts the signals coming from nerve endings in these areas of your body.
Smoking also damages nerve cells and reduces blood flow which may lead to hearing loss. In this way, smoking and tinnitus are directly related.
Smoking doesn’t directly cause tinnitus, but it can make your symptoms worse. It can also add to complications, like frequent ear infections, hearing loss, or high blood pressure.
Toxic Substance in Cigarettes
Smoking can make tinnitus worse by increasing its severity and frequency. Smoking can also increase the risk of other conditions, such as hearing loss, leading to tinnitus. It is due to the toxic substances in cigarettes.
Increases Blood Flow to The Ears
The nicotine in tobacco increases blood flow to the ears and damages the nerves in this area. The combination of these may lead to an increased risk of tinnitus.
Change in Levels of Neurotransmitters
Nicotine also alters the levels of its neurotransmitter, dopamine, which is the main contributor to tinnitus. Smoking also damages the nerves in your ear and makes them more sensitive to loud sounds.
The Treatments for Chronic Tinnitus
The treatments for chronic tinnitus include hearing aids, headsets, and decongestants. Noise-canceling headgear can help reduce outside noise that can affect sleep, while electronic devices such as portable generators or cellphones can interfere with hearing sounds in noisy environments.
How to Quit Smoking?
The following are some ways to quit smoking:
- Plan your quitting strategy and prepare for it with a list of things to do when you feel tempted to smoke
- You can find help from the professional staff at an ear specialist’s office or tobacco abuse programs. They can guide you through quitting smoking and provide encouragement when you need it most.
- Do not hide from triggers that may cause a relapse but do avoid them as much as possible. For example, if you associate drinking with smoking, avoid drinking altogether or with other people who smoke, not to tempt you to smoke again.
Since smoking and tinnitus are two faces of a coin, quitting smoking can help ease the symptoms.