Smoking While Pregnant: Hearing Loss for Teens?

Prenatal smoke may cause hearing loss later in child

Women who smoke during pregnancy may contribute to their child’s hearing loss years later, a new study finds.

There’s yet another important reason to not smoke while you’re pregnant.

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Women who smoke during pregnancy may contribute to their child’s hearing loss years later, a new study finds.

Erika Woodson, MD, did not take part in the study but treats hearing loss at Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Woodson says of the study’s findings of hearing loss, “Specifically it was most noticeable for children who may have single-sided hearing loss, as opposed to hearing loss in both ears.”

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Study results called ‘troubling’

New York University researchers studied data on nearly 1,000 kids between the ages of 12 and 15. They linked those exposed to prenatal smoke to higher pure-tone hearing thresholds, and an almost three-fold increase in the odds of unilateral, or one-sided, low-frequency hearing loss.

Researchers say the pure-tone hearing loss is modest, but the risk of unilateral hearing loss is troubling.

Other risks of prenatal smoke for babies

Nicotine, carbon monoxide, lead, arsenic and other poisons from cigarettes are carried through your bloodstream and go directly to your baby. Smoking while pregnant lowers the amount of oxygen available to you and your baby, but it also increases:

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  • Your baby’s heart rate
  • The chances of miscarriage and stillbirth
  • The risk that your baby is born prematurely and/or born with low birth weight
  • Your baby’s risk of developing respiratory problems

The more cigarettes you smoke, the greater your baby’s chances of developing these and other health problems, including possible hearing loss. There is no “safe” level of smoking for your baby’s health.

“We know so much about the dangers of smoking while pregnant and the effects that it can have on an unborn child,” says Dr. Woodson. “This just adds more evidence to that pile.”

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