You might not recognize that there are risks associated with aspirin, ibuprofen, and other over-the-counter pain relievers according to new research.
Many prevalent pain medicines, including store-bought brands, pose risks to your hearing that you’ll want to consider when using them. Younger men, amazingly, could have a higher risk factor.
Pain Killers And Hearing Loss – What The Studies Say
Prestigious universities, like Vanderbilt, Harvard, and Brigham Young, carried out a comprehensive 30 year study. A bi-yearly questionnaire was sent to 27,000 people between the age of 40 and 74 which included health and lifestyle questions.
Researchers weren’t certain what to expect because the questionnaire was very extensive. After evaluating the data, they were surprised to find a solid connection between loss of hearing and over-the-counter pain relievers.
They also faced a more surprising conclusion. Men who are under the age of 50 who regularly use acetaminophen were almost twice as likely to have loss of hearing. The chance of getting hearing loss is 50/50 for people who use aspirin frequently. And there is a 61% chance that hearing loss will develop in individuals who use NSAIDs (ibuprofen and naproxen).
It was also striking that taking low doses regularly seemed to be worse for their hearing than taking higher doses occasionally.
It’s significant to note this correlation, but it doesn’t definitively demonstrate whether the pain relievers in fact were the cause of the hearing loss. Causation can only be established with more study. But these findings are persuasive enough that we should think about how we’re utilizing pain relievers.
Pain Relievers And Hearing Loss – Current Theories
There are numerous theories as to why pain relievers might cause hearing loss which researchers have come up with.
When you have pain, your nerves convey this feeling to the brain. Over-the-counter pain relievers work by reducing blood flow to particular nerves. This impedes nerve signals that normally communicate with the brain, so you feel less pain.
There may also be a reduction of blood flow to the inner ear according to researchers. Lowered blood flow means less nutrients and oxygen. Cells will die from malnourishment if this blood flow is decreased for prolonged periods.
Also, there’s a particular protein that protects the inner ear from loud noises and it seems as if acetaminophen, in particular, might block this.
What You Can do?
The most remarkable revelation was that men younger than 50 were more likely to be affected. This is an earnest reminder that hearing loss can occur at any age. The steps you take when you’re younger can help protect your hearing as you age.
While it’s significant to note that taking these pain relievers can have some unfavorable repercussions, that doesn’t mean you have to entirely stop using them. Use pain medication only when you absolutely need to and when dealing with prescription medication, only as prescribed.
Seek out other pain relief options, including gentle exercise. You should also reduce the consumption of inflammation-causing foods and increase Omega-3 fat in your diet. These methods have been shown to naturally lessen pain and inflammation while strengthening blood flow.
Lastly, is an appointment to see us every year to have your hearing examined. Don’t forget, hearing examinations are for people of all ages. The best time to begin speaking with us about preventing further hearing loss is when you under 50.