Can Smoking Cause Ear Infection?

After years of research and campaigning, it is clear for everyone to see the harmful effects of smoking. Whilst the effects of smoking have been suspected for decades at this point

It’s next to impossible to get away from the reality that smoking is one of the biggest causes of preventable deaths in the world, as stated by the World Health Organisation.

Not only do the effects of smoking cigarettes and other tobacco-based products cause a great loss of life, but they also ruin many others through their other effects.

Reduced lung function, cancer, heart disease, stroke, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are just some of the problems caused by smoking.

The list goes on and on. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 16 million people in the United States are living with a disease that was caused, at least in part, by smoking.

But one of the often-overlooked victims of the human body when it comes to this nasty and addictive habit is the ear. The many tiny parts that make up the miracle that is human hearing can be badly damaged from a lifetime of smoking.

In this article, we’re going to cover some of the detrimental effects that smoking has on a person’s ear, and whether or not it also can cause ear infection to form from repeated and regular smoking.

As well as a whole host of other pieces of health information about smoking, ears, and cigarette substitutes on this human organ.

The Dangers Of Smoking For Your Ears

So, asides from generally causing poor health for you and those around you, what effects do smoking have on your ear?

Well, one of the most apparent ways that smoking has an effect is through some of the chemicals that are found in cigarettes and their related products.

Nicotine and carbon monoxide have serious effects on the human body, but these two components of smoking are especially damaging to the ear. When inhaled, both substances can enter your bloodstream and begin to impact different areas of your body.

For example, when you smoke, the nicotine enters the bloodstream via the lungs and begins to be absorbed into all tissues within the body.

The effects of nicotine include a heightened blood pressure for a substantial amount of time, which can result in irritation around very sensitive areas.

Including the inner and middle ear, which is already a very small and sensitive part of the body without complications from smoking.

Carbon monoxide is an extremely dangerous substance, as it can easily pass through any membrane, such as our skin and mucous membranes.

It will then attach itself to hemoglobin in red blood cells and bind strongly with them. This binding prevents the proper transport of oxygen through veins (which need hemoglobin) and arterioles (which need oxygen).

On the ear, these chemicals will interfere with the transmitters between your brain and the nerves that make up parts of your ear, which may cause confusing signals to be sent back to your brain.

As a result, you may experience dizziness, nausea, headaches, lack of concentration, amongst other effects.

There are a lot of effects to cover.

Other Hearing Effects Smoking Can Cause


Whilst more studies are needed to confirm this, it seems that there is likely a link between smoking, and the appearance and continued problem for many people that is tinnitus.

As we have stated above, the effects of smoking on the human body are as vast as they are sinister.

The cut-off of the circulation of oxygen around the body, thanks to carbon monoxide and nicotine, can result in a reduction of blood flow to the ear, thus reducing its ability to function.

This results in increased inflammation, which leads to damage and swelling, which can lead to the generation of noise in the ear: Tinnitus.

This constant, irritating humming or ringing affects millions of people around the world and can make living your day-to-day life incredibly frustrating

Ear Infections

As we stated before, the reduction of blood flow to the ear has a whole range of effects on the ear’s functions, one of those being the ear’s ability to clean, repair, and recover from any damage caused to it.

With this reduced blood flow, blockages and damage can result in an ear infection.

We know that smoking increases the chances of developing asthma, so it stands to reason that smokers would also be at greater risk of having an ear infection than non-smokers because the ear constantly needs to keep clean and healthy, which requires a good supply of blood.

Without these processes being carried out on their own, or constant maintenance from the person at the start of their ear’s health, then bacteria can build up and grow inside the ear, causing pain, discomfort, and even an inability to hear clearly.

And with a weakened immune system thanks to the effects of cigarettes as well, then the ear infection will only get worse if things remain unchanged.

Other Effects Of Smoking On The Ear

One of the major impacts on the ear in the presence of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are highly reactive compounds that can wreak havoc on almost anything organic.

They contribute to the aging process by causing oxidative stress, which is the breakdown of molecules due to the addition of oxygen.

In the case of the ear, free radicals are responsible for causing inflammation and swelling, which can lead to issues like the ones we have already mentioned such as tinnitus, ear infections, or even hearing loss in general.

How Does It Affect Children?

There is already a concerted effort to help people with kids to quit smoking. If not for themselves, then for the health of their children.

With a weakened immune system when compared to adults, children are even more susceptible to ear infections. The constant exposure to smoke means that their ears are exposed to the same chemicals that are damaging to adult lungs.

But without the natural defenses that adults have built up over, these effects are much more severe. This extends to other health effects of smoking too, like asthma and respiratory-related illnesses.

What’s more, if a person smokes whilst the child is in their womb, then the risk of the child having a hearing-related problem later in life is increased as well.

If you’re concerned about the impact smoking has had on your baby, speak to your doctor today. You could be helping them to improve your child’s health, and giving yourself peace of mind for the both of you and those around you.

Other Nicotine Substitute Effects On Hearing.

As the effects of smoking have become more well-known, many cigarette alternatives have also emerged on the market, such as vaping e-cigarettes.

But whilst the effects of tobacco may not be as evident in vapers, the presence of nicotine still means that many of the health risks to your ear remain.

What’s more, many of the chemical additives that give vaping cigarettes their wide range of flavors have very little oversight when it comes to the law, including some harmful additives that can cause ear damage over time.

As such, you should always opt for non-nicotine alternatives whenever possible.


So, we’ve made it very clear: Amongst all the terrible things that smoking does, ear damage is just one of an ever-expanding list of reasons to quit.

You’ll start to feel the benefits even within a few hours. Your blood pressure will go down, your taste and smell will return to you. And your ears will be able to do their job as good as before.

The best part? It won’t cost you a penny. With so much to gain from quitting, there really isn’t any reason not to try. So, what are you waiting for? Get started now!

Are you ready to get healthier?

Jonie Dean
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