Woman taking pain killers and thinking about her hearing.

You may not be aware that there are risks linked to aspirin, ibuprofen, 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 choose to use them. Surprisingly, younger men might be at higher risk.

What Studies Say About Hearing Loss And Pain Killers

A thorough, 30-year collaborative study was conducted among researchers from prestigious universities including Harvard, Brigham Young, and Vanderbilt. A bi-yearly survey was sent to 27,000 individuals between the age of 40 and 74 which included lifestyle and health questions.

Because the survey was so diverse, researchers were uncertain of what they would discover. After evaluating the data, they were surprised to find a strong connection between hearing loss and over-the-counter pain relievers.

The data also showed something even more alarming. Men younger than 50 were nearly twice as likely to have hearing loss if they frequently used acetaminophen. Those who frequently 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).

Another unexpected thing that was discovered was that high doses used once in a while were not as harmful for your hearing as low doses taken regularly.

We can’t be certain that the pain reliever actually caused this loss of hearing even though we can see a definite connection. More studies are needed to prove causation. But these discoveries are persuasive enough that we should think about how we’re using pain relievers.

Hearing Loss And Pain Relievers – Present Theories

Researchers have several possible theories as to why pain relievers could cause hearing impairment.

When you experience pain, your nerves communicate this sensation to the brain. Blood flow to a particular nerve is obstructed by over-the-counter pain relievers. You then feel decreased pain as the normal pain signals are impeded.

Scientists believe this process also reduces blood flow in the inner ear. This blood brings vital oxygen and nutrients. Cells will die from undernourishment if this blood flow is reduced for extended periods.

Acetaminophen, which showed the most substantial connection, could also minimize the production of a particular protein that helps protect the inner ear from loud noises.

What You Can do?

The most remarkable revelation was that men younger than 50 were the most likely to be affected. This is a solemn reminder that hearing loss can happen at any age. But as you get older, if you take the proper steps you will have a better chance of maintaining your hearing.

While it’s significant to note that using these pain relievers can have some negative consequences, that doesn’t mean you need to completely stop using them. Use pain medication only when you really need to and when using prescription medication, only as prescribed.

Look for other pain relief possibilities, including gentle exercise. It would also be a good idea to increase the Omega-3 fat in your diet and reduce foods that cause inflammation. These methods have been shown to naturally reduce inflammation and pain while improving blood flow.

Lastly, is an appointment to see us each year to get your hearing examined. Keep in mind, you’re never too young to have your hearing checked. If you’re younger than 50, now is the time to start talking to us about eliminating additional loss of hearing.

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