In a paper published this month titled "Smoking, Smoking Cessation, And The Risk Of Hearing Loss: Japan Epidemiology Collaboration On Occupational Health Study" (abstract here) it was demonstrated that there appears to be an impact on the hearing of those people who smoke tobacco.

Dr Huanhuan Hu along with a team of researchers in Japan sought to determine whether there was any association between smoking, smoking intensity and the risk of hearing loss.

The study included over 50,000 individuals aged between 20 and 64 years. The study examined hearing loss at 1 and 4 kHz over a period of eight years in those who smoke. The findings of the study are that smoking is associated with an increased risk of hearing loss, especially in the high frequencies, in a dose-response manner. Those who smoked less experienced a lower level of hearing loss and those who quit smoking experienced a drop off in their hearing loss. This study took account of the fact a number of the subjects to the study were exposed to noise and accounted for that whilst still being able to show a connection between smoking and hearing loss.

What this means for you

Those handling noise claims should begin to seek input from any medical experts on whether any account can be taken of the fact that claimants may have smoked when it comes to considering levels of hearing loss. This will certainly lend itself to arguments for contribution. However, we will need to wait and see how the Court and experts are inclined to treat this research when it comes to calculating levels of loss.