There is a sufficient body of evidence that shows smoking can cause tinnitus. A recent review of 20 studies conducted on the topic found that current, former and ever smokers were significantly more likely to be affected by tinnitus than those who had never smoked. This association was even higher for individuals who suffered from severe tinnitus or who were exposed to nicotine for an extended period of time.
The effects of nicotine on tinnitus are highly diverse, depending on the sections of the central nervous system, concentration and duration of administration. Nicotine has been known to interfere with neurotransmitters in the auditory nerve which are responsible for telling the brain which sound you are hearing. It can also cause dizziness and vertigo, as well as irritation in the Eustachian tube and lining of the middle ear.
Besides causing tinnitus, research also shows that smokers are 70 percent more likely to acquire some type of hearing loss compared to non-smokers. While quitting smoking cannot undo the damage to the ears already caused, it is the first step in supporting healthy hearing and preventing further damage due to smoking or high blood pressure.
In conclusion, there is sufficient evidence that smoking is associated with tinnitus. Further research is needed to provide more evidence on the strength of this association and causal relationships.
Brunner, P., Canlon, B., Davis, A., Fujii, S., Gallus, S., Hoffman, H. R., Kim, S. Y., Kirk, L. E., Lasisi, T. O., Lindgren, F., Mahboubi, H., Marmut, J., McCormack, A., Michikawa, T., Nondahl, D. M., Nondahl, S. T., Palmer, L. L., Palmer, C. V., Shargorodsky, J., & Sindhusake, D. (2018). Does Smoking Increase the Risk of Developing Tinnitus? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International Journal of Otolaryngology, 2018, 1-13.
Morris, D. (2021, March 15). Does smoking or vaping cause tinnitus? Here’s what you need to know. Retrieved February 26, 2021, from https://www.bloomhearing.co.uk/en-gb/blog/smoking-and-hearing-loss
Morris, D. (2022, February 22). The facts about smoking, vaping and how it affects tinnitus. Retrieved February 26, 2021, from https://tinnitusliberty.com/smoking-vaping-tinnitus/