When you’re in pain, you might reach for ibuprofen or aspirin without much thought, but new studies have shown risks you need to recognize.
Many popular pain medicines, including store-bought brands, carry risks to your hearing that you’ll want to weigh when considering taking them. Younger men, surprisingly, could carry a higher risk factor.
Pain Killers And Hearing Loss – What The Studies Say
A thorough, 30-year collective study was conducted involving researchers from prestigious universities including Harvard, Brigham Young, and Vanderbilt. A bi-yearly survey was sent to 27,000 people between the age of 40 and 74 which included health and lifestyle questions.
Researchers were not sure what to expect because the questionnaire was very extensive. But the data demonstrated that over-the-counter pain relievers and loss of hearing had a strong connection.
The data also showed something even more surprising. Men 50 or younger were nearly two times as likely to have hearing loss if they routinely used acetaminophen. Individuals who frequently used aspirin had a 50% chance of suffering from 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 occasionally were not as harmful for your hearing as low doses taken frequently.
It’s significant to mention this connection, but it doesn’t definitively show whether the pain relievers in fact caused the hearing loss. More research is needed to prove causation. But these findings are compelling enough that we ought to rethink how we’re utilizing pain relievers.
Present Theories About The Connection Between Pain Relievers And Hearing Loss
There are several theories as to why pain relievers might cause hearing loss which scientists have come up with.
Your nerves convey the feeling of pain to your brain. Over-the-counter pain relievers work by decreasing the flow of blood to specific nerves. This impedes nerve signals that normally communicate with the brain, so you feel a reduced pain level.
There may also be a reduction of blood flow to the inner ear according to researchers. This blood carries vital oxygen and nutrients. Cells will die from malnourishment if this blood flow is decreased for prolonged periods.
Acetaminophen, which showed the most significant connection, could also lessen the production of a specific 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 more likely to be impacted. This is a solemn reminder that hearing impairment can happen at any age. But as you age, if you take the proper steps you will have a better chance of preserving your hearing.
While it’s important to note that using these pain relievers can have some negative repercussions, that doesn’t mean you need to completely stop using them. Take pain relievers as prescribed and reduce how often you take them if possible.
If you can discover alternative solutions you should consider them as a first approach. You should also minimize the consumption of inflammation-producing foods and boost Omega-3 fat in your diet. Reduced pain and improved blood flow have been demonstrated to come from these methods.
Lastly, is an appointment to see us each year to have your hearing checked. Remember, you’re never too young to have your hearing tested. If you’re under 50, now is the time to start speaking with us about avoiding additional hearing loss.