When you have pain, you may reach for aspirin or ibuprofen without much thought, but new studies have demonstrated 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 pose before you choose to use them. Astonishingly, younger men may be at greater risk.
What The Research Says About Hearing Loss And Pain Killers
A thorough, 30-year collaborative study was carried out among researchers from esteemed universities like Harvard, Brigham Young, and Vanderbilt. The researchers asked 27,000 individuals between the ages of 40 and 74, to complete a biennial survey that included numerous lifestyle and health questions.
Because the questionnaire was so diverse, researchers were unsure of what they would find. After analyzing the data, they were surprised to find a strong connection between loss of hearing and over-the-counter pain relievers.
They also faced a more surprising realization. Men 50 or younger were approximately two times as likely to have hearing loss if they routinely used acetaminophen. People who regularly used aspirin had a 50% chance of suffering from hearing loss. And those who used NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen) had a 61% chance of getting lasting hearing loss.
Another surprising thing that was discovered was that high doses used once in a while were not as bad for your hearing as low doses taken frequently.
It’s important to mention this connection, but it doesn’t definitively demonstrate whether the pain relievers actually caused the hearing loss. More studies are required to prove causation. But these discoveries are persuasive enough that we ought to reconsider how we’re utilizing pain relievers.
Current Theories About The Connection Between Pain Relievers And Hearing Loss
Scientists have several conceivable theories as to why pain relievers might cause hearing damage.
Your nerves convey the sensation of pain to your brain. Over-the-counter pain relievers work by reducing the flow of blood to particular nerves. You then feel decreased pain as the normal pain signals are blocked.
There may also be a decrease 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.
Also, there’s a particular protein that guards the inner ear from loud noises and it seems as if acetaminophen, in particular, might block this.
What You Can do?
Perhaps the biggest point to keep in mind is that men under 50 were more likely to suffer hearing impairment from pain relievers. This confirms that hearing loss doesn’t just impact the elderly. But as you get older, if you take the right steps you will have a better chance of preserving your hearing.
While we aren’t implying that you entirely stop using pain relievers, you should acknowledge that there may be unfavorable repercussions. 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 option. It would also be a smart idea to increase the Omega-3 fat in your diet and reduce foods that cause inflammation. Reduced pain and better blood flow have been demonstrated to come from these practices.
Lastly, is an appointment to see us each year to get your hearing tested. Don’t forget, hearing tests are for individuals of all ages. If you’re under 50, now is the time to start speaking with us about eliminating additional hearing loss.