Coastal Hearing Aid Center - Encinitas, CA

Woman taking pain killers and thinking about her hearing.

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

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

What The Research Says About Hearing Loss And Pain Relievers

Prestigious universities, like Vanderbilt, Harvard, and Brigham Young, performed a thorough 30 year study. A bi-yearly questionnaire was sent to 27,000 individuals between the age of 40 and 74 which included health and lifestyle questions.

Researchers were not sure what to expect because the survey was very extensive. But the data revealed that over-the-counter pain relievers and hearing loss had a strong link.

The data also showed something even more alarming. Men 50 or younger were almost twice as likely to have hearing loss if they routinely used acetaminophen. The chance of developing hearing loss is 50/50 for people who use aspirin regularly. And there is a 61% chance that hearing loss will develop in those who use NSAIDs (ibuprofen and naproxen).

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

It’s important to note this correlation, but it doesn’t definitively reveal whether the pain relievers actually caused the hearing loss. Causation can only be proven with more study. But these results are persuasive enough that we should rethink how we’re using pain relievers.

Present Theories About The Connection Between Pain Relievers And Hearing Loss

Scientists have several possible theories as to why pain relievers could cause hearing damage.

When you have pain, your nerves convey this feeling to the brain. Blood flow to a particular nerve is obstructed by over-the-counter pain relievers. This impedes nerve signals that normally communicate with the brain, so you feel a reduced pain level.

There may also be a reduction of blood flow to the inner ear according to scientists. Lowered blood flow means less oxygen and nutrients. When the flow is decreased for prolonged time periods, cells end up malnourished and die.

Acetaminophen, which showed the most appreciable correlation, may also minimize the generation of a specific protein that helps shield the inner ear from loud noises.

What You Can do?

The most noteworthy insight was that men under 50 were the most likely to be impacted. This confirms that hearing loss doesn’t just impact the elderly. But as you get older, if you take the proper steps you will have a better chance of protecting your hearing.

While we aren’t advising you completely stop using pain relievers, you should acknowledge that there may be unfavorable consequences. Take pain relievers as prescribed and reduce how often you take them if possible.

Try to find other pain relief options, including gentle exercise. It would also be a smart idea to boost the Omega-3 fat in your diet and reduce foods that cause inflammation. These practices have been shown to naturally decrease pain and inflammation while enhancing blood flow.

Lastly, is an appointment to see us every year to get your hearing checked. Keep in mind, you’re never too young to have your hearing tested. The best time to begin talking to us about avoiding additional 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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