Woman taking pain killers and thinking about her hearing.

You might not be aware that there are risks linked to ibuprofen, aspirin, and other over-the-counter pain relievers according to new research.

You’ll want to consider the risks to your hearing that many over-the-counter and prescription pain medication carry before you choose to use them. Astonishingly, younger men might be at higher risk.

What Studies Say About Hearing Loss And Pain Killers

Esteemed universities, like Vanderbilt, Harvard, and Brigham Young, carried out a thorough 30 year study. The researchers asked 27,000 people ages 40 to 74, to complete a biyearly survey that included numerous health and lifestyle questions.

Because the survey was so broad, researchers were unsure of what they would find. But the data demonstrated that over-the-counter pain relievers and loss of hearing had a strong link.

The data also showed something even more alarming. Men who are under the age of 50 who frequently use acetaminophen were nearly twice as likely to have hearing loss. Individuals who regularly used aspirin had a 50% chance of experiencing hearing loss. And there is a 61% chance that hearing loss will develop in those who use NSAIDs (ibuprofen and naproxen).

It was also striking that taking low doses frequently seemed to be more detrimental to their hearing than using higher doses from time to time.

It’s significant to note this correlation, but it doesn’t definitively show whether the pain relievers actually were the cause of the hearing loss. Causation can only be established with further study. But these discoveries are compelling enough that we should think about how we’re utilizing pain relievers.

Present Theories About The Connection Between Hearing Loss And Pain Relievers

There are several theories as to why pain relievers could cause hearing loss which scientists have come up with.

Your nerves convey the sensation of pain to your brain. Over-the-counter pain relievers work by limiting blood flow to particular nerves. You then feel decreased pain as the normal pain signals are impeded.

Researchers suspect this process also reduces blood flow in the inner ear. Less blood flow means less oxygen and nutrients. Cells will die from malnourishment if this blood flow is decreased for extended periods.

Also, there’s a specific protein that guards the inner ear from loud noises and it seems like acetaminophen, in particular, might block this.

Is There Anything That Can be Done?

The most significant revelation was that men under 50 were more likely to be affected. This is a solemn reminder that hearing loss can occur at any age. But as you get older, if you take the appropriate steps you will have a better chance of preserving your hearing.

While we aren’t implying that you entirely stop taking pain relievers, you should recognize that there could be negative repercussions. Take pain relievers as prescribed and minimize how often you take them if possible.

If you can discover alternative solutions you should consider them as a first approach. You should also minimize the consumption of inflammation-causing foods and increase Omega-3 fat in your diet. These practices have been shown to naturally reduce inflammation and pain while enhancing blood flow.

And finally, make an appointment with us for a hearing test. Keep in mind, you’re never too young to have your hearing tested. If you’re under 50, now is the time to start talking to us about preventing additional hearing loss.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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