The International Tinnitus Journal

The International Tinnitus Journal

Official Journal of the Neurootological and Equilibriometric Society
Official Journal of the Brazil Federal District Otorhinolaryngologist Society

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ISSN: 0946-5448

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Effects of Smoking on Eustachian Tube and Hearing

Author(s): Matteo Pezzoli, Denise Lofaro, Alessandro Oliva, Monica Orione, Daniela Cupi, Andrea Albera, Guido Bongioannini, Roberto Albera

Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of tobacco use on the Eustachian tube and inner ear function. Study Design: Case-control study. Subjects and settings: Thirty-one nonsmoking volunteers and 34 smoking subjects recruited in an University Hospital, submitted to an audiological evaluation including pure tone audiometry, basal tympanogram, stapedial reflexes analysis, and nine-step eustachian tube (ET) function test. Results: Pure Tone Average (PTA) threshold at all frequencies tested was 12.5 dB in smokers and 3.7 in nonsmoking subjects. Nine smokers (27%) presented some degree of hearing loss versus none in the nonsmoker group. Linear regression analysis showed a higher degree of sensorineural hearing loss with age in smokers. Among the smokers, 20 subjects (59%) presented an impaired tubal function for the nine-step inflation/deflation tympanometric test, while only 6 (19%) subjects in the group of nonsmokers showed a tubal dysfunction. Conclusion: Tobacco use may reduce the ability to hear, mainly causing a sensorineural hearing loss for higher frequencies. We also found the presence of a high number of smokers suffering from tubal dysfunction. This has an important clinical relevance, not only because smoking increases the incidence of middle ear diseases, but also because tubal dysfunction may cause nonspecific symptoms characterised by ear fullness and difficulties in middle ear equalisation.

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