The Jakarta Post
A recent study in Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology found that hearing loss in children is potentially linked to an exposure to secondhand smoke. (Shutterstock/krumanop)
As research of the impacts of smoking progress, it has become common knowledge that its effects are felt even beyond the smoker.
To what extent, people are still unsure. But a recent study in Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology found that hearing loss in children is potentially linked to an exposure to secondhand smoke.
The study, which was conducted by Dr. Koji Kawakami from Kyoto University in Japan, looked at over 50,000 children who were born between 2004 and 2010. They specifically focused on the children’s hearing when they were 3 years old.
By that time, 4.6 percent of children had a type of hearing impairment, and it was found that there was a correlation between exposure to secondhand smoke and said impairment. The children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy ran a 68 percent risk of hearing impairment, as compared to the 28 percent risk ran by children exposed to their mothers’ past smoking.
“This study clearly shows that preventing exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy and postnatally may reduce the risk of hearing problems in children,” said Dr. Kawakami. “The findings remind us of the need to continue strengthening interventions to prevent smoking before and during pregnancy and exposure to secondhand smoke in children."
Dr. Karen Wilson of the Debra and Leon Black division chief of general pediatrics, and the vice chair for clinical and transnational research for the Department of Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, said this was the first time she had ever heard of this connection, but noted that secondhand smoke has been proven to cause ear infections in children, which then might cause hearing impairments. (sul/kes)