Hearing problems? It may be due to smoking


New York : More bad news for nicotine addicts – smoking causes not just cancer, lung, heart and blood vessel diseases, but could trigger hearing problems too.

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According to a new US study, teenagers who smoke or whose mothers smoked during pregnancy are at higher risk of understanding what is being said.

In tests on 67 teenagers, Yale University researchers found that those exposed to smoke had trouble focusing and interpreting sounds when there was a distraction, reported the online edition of BBC News citing a report that appeared in the New Scientist magazine.

Researchers led by Leslie Jacobsen carried out brain scans on the teenagers and found that those exposed to smoke were more likely to have more white matter – matter responsible for transmitting messages.

They believe the over-production of the white matter is caused by nicotine.

The scientists provided evidence after conducting computer tests on the teenagers, who were asked to recognise words while being distracted by visual images or background noise.

Among the boys who were tested, those exposed to smoke got 77 percent right, while those who had not been exposed to smoke got 85 percent of the answers correct.

In girls, the breakdown was 84 percent to 90 percent, the researchers said, describing the results as “quite significant”.

“Individuals affected will have problems in settings where there is a distraction, Jacobsen said.

“This could certainly be the case in classrooms where there may be other people talking and lots of things going on.

“Coupled with other conditions, such as behavioural disorders, this may tip a pupil towards failing at school.”