Woman taking pain killers and thinking about her hearing.

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

Many popular pain medicines, including store-bought brands, pose risks to your hearing that you’ll want to weigh when considering taking them. Astonishingly, younger men could be at higher risk.

Pain Relievers And Hearing Loss – What The Research Says

Prestigious universities, such as Vanderbilt, Harvard, and Brigham Young, conducted a comprehensive 30 year study. A bi-yearly questionnaire was sent to 27,000 participants between the age of 40 and 74 which included lifestyle and health questions.

Researchers weren’t sure what to expect because the questionnaire was very broad. But the data revealed that over-the-counter pain relievers and loss of hearing had a solid connection.

The data also revealed something even more alarming. Men who are under the age of 50 who regularly use acetaminophen were almost two times as likely to have hearing loss. Individuals who regularly used aspirin had a 50% chance of suffering from hearing loss. And there is a 61% chance that hearing loss will develop in individuals who use NSAIDs (ibuprofen and naproxen).

Another unexpected thing that was discovered was that high doses used occasionally were not as harmful for your hearing as low doses taken frequently.

We can’t be sure that the pain reliever actually caused this hearing loss even though we can see a definite connection. More research is needed to prove causation. But we really need to reconsider our use of these pain relievers after these compelling results.

Hearing Loss And Pain Relievers – Present Theories

There are several theories as to why pain relievers may result in hearing loss which researchers have come up with.

When you experience pain, your nerves communicate this sensation to the brain. Over-the-counter pain relievers work by reducing blood flow to particular nerves. You then feel decreased pain as the regular pain signals are impeded.

There may also be a reduction of blood flow to the inner ear according to researchers. This blood provides vital nutrients and oxygen. When the flow is decreased for extended time periods, cells end up malnourished and die.

Acetaminophen, which showed the most substantial correlation, may also minimize the generation of a particular protein that helps protect the inner ear from loud noises.

What You Can do?

Perhaps the most significant point to keep in mind is that men under 50 were more likely to suffer hearing loss from pain relievers. This is an earnest reminder that hearing loss can occur 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 important to note that taking these pain relievers can have some negative consequences, that doesn’t mean you have to completely stop using them. Take pain relievers as prescribed and lessen how often you use them if possible.

Seek out other pain relief solutions, including gentle exercise. You should also reduce the consumption of inflammation-causing foods and boost Omega-3 fat in your diet. These methods have been shown to naturally lessen pain and inflammation while enhancing blood flow.

Lastly, is an appointment to see us every year to get your hearing examined. Don’t forget, hearing tests are for people of all ages. The best time to start speaking with us about preventing additional hearing loss is when you under 50.

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