Woman taking pain killers and thinking about her hearing.

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

You’ll want to look at the risks to your hearing that many over-the-counter and prescription pain medication present before you decide to use them. Amazingly, younger men could be at greater risk.

What The Research Says About Hearing Loss And Pain Killers

Prestigious universities, including Vanderbilt, Harvard, and Brigham Young, conducted a comprehensive 30 year study. The researchers asked 27,000 individuals between the ages of 40 and 74, to complete a biyearly survey that included numerous lifestyle and health questions.

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

They also faced a more shocking realization. Men who are 50 or under who routinely 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 those who used NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen) had a 61% chance of developing irreversible hearing loss.

It was also striking that taking low doses regularly seemed to be more detrimental to their hearing than using higher doses once in a while.

We can’t be sure that the pain reliever actually was the cause of this hearing loss even though we can see a distinct correlation. Causation can only be established with additional study. But these findings are persuasive enough that we should reconsider how we’re using pain relievers.

Current Theories About The Connection Between Hearing Loss And Pain Relievers

Scientists have numerous conceivable theories as to why pain relievers could cause hearing impairment.

Your nerves communicate the experience of pain to your brain. Over-the-counter pain relievers work by limiting the flow of blood to specific nerves. This disrupts nerve signals that normally communicate with the brain, so you feel a reduced pain level.

Researchers think this process also decreases blood flow in the inner ear. This blood provides vital oxygen and nutrients. Cells will die from undernourishment if this blood flow is reduced for extended periods.

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

What You Can do?

The most significant revelation was that men under 50 were the most likely to be affected. This verifies that hearing loss doesn’t just affect the elderly. The steps you take when you’re younger can help preserve your hearing as you age.

While we aren’t advising you entirely stop using pain relievers, you should acknowledge that there could be negative repercussions. Use pain medication only when you absolutely need to and when dealing with prescription medication, only as prescribed.

Try to find other pain relief solutions, including gentle exercise. It would also be a good idea to increase the Omega-3 fat in your diet and minimize foods that cause inflammation. These practices have been shown to naturally lessen inflammation and pain while strengthening blood flow.

And finally, make an appointment with us for a hearing examination. Don’t forget, hearing tests are for individuals of all ages. The best time to start talking to us about preventing further hearing loss is when you under 50.

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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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