vapingElectronic cigarettes are sometimes regarded as a tobacco alternative that is not as harmful to our lungs, but does vaping pose a hidden danger to our hearing?

Research still has a long ways to go in determining the lasting health impacts of vaping (using an e-cigarette) and whether it’s truly an ideal way to quit tobacco. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 20% of high school students used an e-cigarette over the past month, while 3% of U.S. adults were regular users in 2017.

Because e-cigarettes do contain nicotine, Physicians Hearing Center in Dothan, Alabama wants to remind you of the potential hearing risks posed by vaping. 

Nicotine has been shown to contribute to heart disease – the number-one killer of American men and women. Further, other chemicals produced in the vaping process – lead, formaldehyde, nitrosamines and silicate particles have been linked to cancer.

Similar to traditional cigarettes, the nicotine and other chemicals in e-cigarettes can damage the tiny hair cells of the inner ear. This is the part of the ear responsible for translating sounds into neural signals the brain can decipher. If damaged, these hair cells do not regenerate – resulting in permanent, sensorineural hearing loss.

Used in some vaping liquids, the chemical propylene glycol (PG) is known to be ototoxic (harmful to hearing).

Dr. Bharti Katbamna, audiologist and professor of speech pathology and audiology at Western Michigan University, has researched the links between smoking and hearing health.

“Even though propylene glycol (PG) acquired the GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status from FDA in the 1990s for use in foods and products like shampoos, etc., there is no data or evidence that is it in fact safe for inhalation,” she said. “Moreover, its concentration in e-cigarettes is 50-80% greater than traditional cigarettes so that the aerosol has a dominant content of PG and glycerol.”

If you have concerns about your hearing, schedule an evaluation with Physicians Hearing Center in Dothan, Alabama by calling us at (334) 673-7399 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .