When vaping a few years ago triggered a severe flare up in my tinnitus and hyperacusis as well as worse hearing, I was very worried. In 2018, I set up an e-cigarette and vaping hearing health survey on my website to see what other people experienced after using non-organic e-cigarettes with vape juice containing ear poison (ototoxic) propylene glycol (PG). It’s not an “allergy” or “sensitivity”. Ototoxic chemicals damage the hearing and/or balance system on direct contact.
A big problem is whether PG is still ototoxic when inhaled compared to direct skin contact, e.g. in ear canals. But there seems to be enough people reporting hearing problems problems after using PG vape juice to raise concerns.
Tinnitus is when people hear sounds in their ears or head when there is no outside sound source, e.g. ringing, buzzing, squealing. Hyperacusis is when regular everyday sounds are heard painfully loud.
These are what my survey results showed by the end of 2018. Total number of people doing the poll = 60.
YES = 91%
NO = 9%
YES = 92%
NO = 8 %
My opinion? I won’t use vape juice containing PG after it permanently damaged my hearing health. My ears are better now, but not as good as they were before. Options include organic vape juice, cannibidiol or CBD only vape juice, but check ingredients for PG.
After a lot of hunting, I found Moonshine Brew in Vancouver that makes organic vape juice and ships in Canada and to USA, Eurozone and Australia. Read the fine print on PG to VG (vegetable glycerin) ratio in different juice flavours. The max VG could still have a tiny bit of PG so take that into consideration before using.
I think PG (and other toxic chemicals) should be banned from vape juice to protect everyone’s hearing health. At the very least, packaging should have hearing health risk warning labels.
Meanwhile Health Canada ignores the hearing health risk of vape juice made with PG. A 2019 Calgary campaign calls for more rigid regulations on vaping and e-cigarettes. The risk of permanent hearing loss, tinnitus, and/or hyperacusis isn’t mentioned.
Another ignored issue is noise + chemical exposure can cause hearing health problems worse than noise alone. Nobody is studying whether people who vape with PG and have noise exposure (e.g. work, personal listening, taking public transit, living near aircraft flight path) are higher risk of hearing health problems than people who vape with PG who don’t have any environmental noise exposure.
I hope audiologists, medical professionals, and all the people campaigning for stronger e-cigarette regulations start to raise awareness about the serious but preventable hearing health risk. The last thing we need is more children, teens, young adults, and adults with permanent hearing health damage.
I’d love to see government regulation prevention so e-cigarette hearing health damage never happens to anyone at any age.