When you’re in pain, you may reach for ibuprofen or aspirin without thinking much about it, but new studies have revealed risks you should be aware of.
You’ll want to think about the risks to your hearing that many over-the-counter and prescription pain medication carry before you choose to use them. Surprisingly, younger men might be at higher risk.
Pain Relievers And Hearing Loss – What The Research Says
A comprehensive, 30-year cooperative study was carried out involving researchers from esteemed universities including Harvard, Brigham Young, and Vanderbilt. The researchers asked 27,000 people between the ages of 40 and 74, to complete a biennial questionnaire that included several health and lifestyle questions.
Researchers weren’t sure what to expect because the survey was very broad. But the data demonstrated that over-the-counter pain relievers and loss of hearing had a strong correlation.
They also faced a more shocking realization. Men younger than 50 were almost two times as likely to have hearing loss if they frequently used acetaminophen. People who frequently used aspirin had a 50% chance of suffering from hearing loss. And those who used NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen) had a 61% chance of getting irreversible hearing loss.
It was also striking that taking low doses frequently seemed to be worse for their hearing than using higher doses from time to time.
It’s significant to note this correlation, but it doesn’t definitively reveal whether the pain relievers actually caused the hearing loss. More studies are required to prove causation. But we really should reconsider our use of these pain relievers after these compelling findings.
Pain Relievers And Hearing Loss – Present Theories
There are several theories as to why pain relievers might result in hearing loss which scientists have come up with.
Your nerves convey the experience of pain to your brain. The flow of blood to a particular nerve is blocked by over-the-counter pain relievers. This interrupts nerve signals that normally communicate with the brain, so you feel less pain.
There might also be a reduction of blood flow to the inner ear according to researchers. This blood brings vital nutrients and oxygen. Cells will die from undernourishment if this blood flow is decreased for prolonged periods.
Acetaminophen, which showed the most appreciable link, could 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 impairment from pain relievers. This is an earnest reminder that hearing impairment can occur at any age. The steps you take when you’re younger can help protect 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 need to entirely stop using them. Take pain relievers as prescribed and lessen how often you take them if possible.
If you can discover alternative solutions you should consider them as a first approach. It would also be a good idea to boost the Omega-3 fat in your diet and minimize foods that cause inflammation. Decreased pain and better blood flow have been demonstrated to come from these practices.
Lastly, is an appointment to see us every year to get your hearing checked. Remember, you’re never too young to get your hearing tested. The best time to begin speaking with us about preventing additional hearing loss is when you under 50.