Effects of light smoking on extra-high-frequency auditory thresholds in young adults

Nobutaka Ohgami, Takaaki Kondo, Masashi Kato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


There have been few reports showing a correlation between hearing levels and life style in young people. In this study, we succeeded in sensitively evaluating hearing levels in 51 young male adults of 21-23 years in age by 12 k Hz extra-high-frequency auditory thresholds, which cannot be measured by usual audiometry devices for clinical use. Noise exposure, alcohol consumption and sleeping time did not affect hearing levels in young adults. Auditory thresholds of 12 kHz frequency in smokers were significantly (p < 0.05) higher than those in non-smokers, while there were no differences in 1 kHz, 4 kHz and 8 kHz frequencies of hearing levels between smokers and non-smokers. Since the Brinkman Index (BI; cigarettes/day multiplied by number of years) of smokers in this study was from 12 to 60, our results suggest that even light smoking of less than 20 cigarettes/day for 3 years can result in the development of hearing loss of 12 kHz frequency in young adults. Binary logistic regression analysis again showed a correlation between hearing loss (≥40 dB of auditory thresholds in 12 kHz frequency) and light smoking (12 ≤ BI ≤ 60). Thus, this study showed that auditory threshold at 12 kHz frequency could be a sensitive marker for hearing in young adults. More importantly, we for the first time provided epidemiological evidence that light smoking might affect hearing level at 12 kHz frequency and revealed a new risk of light smoking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-147
Number of pages5
JournalToxicology and Industrial Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 03-2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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