Woman taking pain killers and thinking about her hearing.

When you experience pain, you might reach for aspirin or ibuprofen without thinking much about it, but new research has revealed risks you need to be aware of.

Many popular pain medicines, including store-bought brands, pose risks to your hearing that you’ll want to weigh when considering using them. Younger men, amazingly, could carry a higher risk factor.

Pain Relievers And Hearing Loss – What The Studies Say

A comprehensive, 30-year collaborative study was carried out among researchers from prestigious universities such as Harvard, Brigham Young, and Vanderbilt. A bi-yearly questionnaire was sent to 27,000 individuals 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. But the data demonstrated that over-the-counter pain relievers and hearing loss had a solid link.

They also faced a more surprising conclusion. Men who are under the age of 50 who frequently use acetaminophen were almost two times as likely to have hearing loss. The chance of getting hearing loss is 50/50 for people who use aspirin regularly. And those who used NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen) had a 61% chance of getting permanent hearing loss.

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

We can’t be certain that the pain reliever actually caused this hearing loss even though we can see a distinct connection. Causation can only be established with additional study. But these findings are persuasive enough that we ought to rethink how we’re using pain relievers.

Hearing Loss And Pain Relievers – Current Theories

Experts have numerous conceivable theories as to why pain relievers could cause hearing damage.

When you have pain, your nerves convey this sensation to the brain. Over-the-counter pain relievers work by decreasing blood flow to particular nerves. This interrupts nerve signals that usually communicate with the brain, so you feel less pain.

Scientists believe this process also decreases the flow of blood in the inner ear. This blood carries vital nutrients and oxygen. When the flow is reduced for prolonged time periods, cells become malnourished and die.

Acetaminophen, which showed the most significant link, could also lessen the generation of a specific protein that helps protect the inner ear from loud noises.

Is There Anything That Can be Done?

Perhaps the most significant point to keep in mind is that men under 50 were more likely to suffer hearing impairment from pain relievers. This verifies that hearing loss doesn’t just impact the elderly. But as you age, if you take the appropriate steps you will have a better chance of maintaining your hearing.

While it’s important to note that using these pain relievers can have some adverse repercussions, that doesn’t mean you have to entirely stop using them. Take pain relievers as prescribed and reduce how often you use them if possible.

If you can discover alternative solutions you should consider them as a first possibility. You should also minimize the consumption of inflammation-producing foods and increase Omega-3 fat in your diet. Reduced pain and enhanced blood flow have been demonstrated to come from these practices.

Lastly, is an appointment to see us every year to have your hearing examined. Don’t forget, hearing exams are for people of all ages. If you’re under 50, now is the time to begin talking to us about eliminating further loss of hearing.

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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.