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Can Smoking Cause Ear Infections?

ear infections

By now, we’re all aware of the health problems smoking causes. Smoking leads to diagnoses of lung cancer, pulmonary disease and issues with the respiratory system.

Did you know that smoking can also cause ear infections? Read on to learn more about the link between cigarettes and this common illness.

Secondhand Smoke and Ear Infections

Why does smoking lead to ear infections? The connection between the ears and secondhand smoke has to do with the interconnectedness of the body’s systems.

Inhaling smoke irritates the eustachian tubes, which connect the back of the nose with the middle ear. The irritation causes these tubes to swell. In turn, that swelling interferes with the middle ear’s primary function – pressure equalization. And that inability to equalize pressure becomes painful. Fluid builds up and an infection develops.

Who Is Most Susceptible?

There are two groups of people who are diagnosed with ear infections related to smoking: smokers and people who spend a great deal of time around smokers.

That means that even if you don’t smoke yourself, frequent exposure to secondhand smoke can cause ear infections.

Children suffer the most from the effects of secondhand smoke. The ear infections they develop as a result of secondhand smoke exposure will be more numerous and they will last longer. Frequent ear infections that don’t go away quickly can have a serious and long-lasting impact – they can cause hearing loss.

Reducing the Risk of Ear Infections Due to Smoking

What can you do to reduce your risk (and the risk to others) of ear infections caused by exposure to cigarette smoke?

If you’re a smoker, you should quit smoking. While that’s easier said than done, this one action will make a positive difference in your life and the lives of your loved ones. In addition to significantly lowering your chances of developing ear infections, you’ll see an overall improvement in your health.

Let’s say you don’t smoke, but you’re in frequent contact with those who do. If this person or people will not quit smoking, you should find someone else to spend time with. Again, that might be easier said than done, especially if the smoker is a roommate or significant other. However, your health matters, too.

Houston Sinus & Allergy: Ear, Nose and Throat Experts

Do you suffer from frequent ear infections due to cigarette smoke? Contact Houston Sinus & Allergy today.

Houston Sinus & Allergy specializes in treating nasal and sinus conditions and providing allergy care. Our practice is committed to helping you find long term relief from your symptoms. Dr. Nguyen is a Board Certified ENT – Head and Neck Surgeon with extensive training & experience in diseases of the ears, nose & throat.

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