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eISSN: 1643-3750

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Sex-Related Cochlear Impairment in Cigarette Smokers

Grażyna Lisowska, Jerzy Jochem, Agata Gierlotka, Maciej Misiołek, Wojciech Ścierski

(Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Laryngological Oncology in Zabrze, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland)

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:377-397

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.899589


BACKGROUND: A number of studies have documented the influence of cigarette smoking on hearing. However, the association between sex and hearing impairment in smokers as measured by otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) has not been clearly established. The aim of this study was to analyze sex-specific effects of smoking on hearing via conventional and ultra-high-frequency pure tone audiometry (PTA), and OAEs, specifically spontaneous OAEs, click-evoked OAEs, and distortion-product OAEs.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The study included 84 healthy volunteers aged 25–45 years (mean 34), among them 46 women (25 non-smokers and 21 smokers) and 38 men (16 non-smokers and 22 smokers). The protocol of the study included otoscopic examination, tympanometry, low-, moderate-, and ultra-high-frequency PTA, evaluation of spontaneous click-evoked (CEAOEs) and distortion-product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs), assessment of the DP-grams for 2f1-f2 (f1 from 977 to5 164 Hz), and input/output function at L2 primary tone level of 40–70 dB SPL.
RESULTS: Smokers and non-smokers did not differ significantly in terms of their hearing thresholds assessed with tone audiometry. Male smokers presented with significantly lower levels of CEAOEs and DPOAEs than both male non-smokers and female smokers.
CONCLUSIONS: Smoking does not modulate a hearing threshold determined with PTA at low, moderate, and ultra-high frequencies, but causes a significant decrease in OAE levels. This effect was observed only in males, which implies that they are more susceptible to smoking-induced hearing impairment. Sex-specific differences in otoacoustic emissions level may reflect influences of genetic, hormonal, behavioral, and/or environmental factors.

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