You might not recognize that there are consequences linked to ibuprofen, aspirin, and other over-the-counter pain relievers according to new research.
Many common pain relievers, including store-bought brands, carry risks to your hearing that you’ll want to weigh when considering using them. Younger men, amazingly, could carry a higher risk factor.
What Studies Say About Hearing Loss And Pain Relievers
A comprehensive, 30-year collective study was conducted involving researchers from prestigious universities such as Harvard, Brigham Young, and Vanderbilt. The researchers asked 27,000 people between the ages of 40 and 74, to fill out a biennial survey that included several lifestyle and health questions.
Researchers were not certain what to expect because the survey was very diverse. But the data demonstrated that over-the-counter pain relievers and loss of hearing had a strong correlation.
They also came to a more surprising realization. Men 50 or younger were approximately twice as likely to have hearing loss if they frequently used acetaminophen. The chance of developing hearing loss is 50/50 for people who take aspirin frequently. And those who used NSAIDs (naproxen, ibuprofen) had a 61% chance of developing irreversible hearing loss.
Another unexpected thing that was discovered was that high doses taken occasionally were not as harmful for your hearing as low doses taken frequently.
We can’t be sure that the pain reliever actually was the cause of this hearing loss even though we can see a definite correlation. More studies are required to prove causation. But these discoveries are compelling enough that we should reconsider how we’re utilizing pain relievers.
Current Theories About The Connection Between Hearing Loss And Pain Relievers
There are several theories as to why pain relievers might cause hearing loss which experts have come up with.
When you experience pain, your nerves communicate this feeling to the brain. Over-the-counter pain relievers work by reducing the flow of blood to specific nerves. You then feel less pain as the regular pain signals are impeded.
Researchers think this process also decreases the flow of blood in the inner ear. This blood carries 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 reduce the production of a specific protein that helps shield 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 impairment from pain relievers. This is a solemn reminder that hearing impairment can occur at any age. The steps you take when you’re younger can help preserve your hearing as you age.
While it’s important to note that using these pain relievers can have some unfavorable consequences, that doesn’t mean you have to entirely stop using them. Take pain relievers as prescribed and reduce how often you take them if possible.
Look for other pain relief options, including gentle exercise. You should also decrease the consumption of inflammation-causing foods and increase Omega-3 fat in your diet. Reduced pain and enhanced blood flow have been demonstrated to come from these methods.
Lastly, is an appointment to see us each year to have your hearing tested. Keep in mind, you’re never too young to have your hearing tested. The best time to begin speaking with us about avoiding further hearing loss is when you under 50.