You may not recognize that there are consequences linked to ibuprofen, aspirin, and other over-the-counter pain relievers according to new research.
Many prevalent pain relievers, including store-bought brands, pose risks to your hearing that you’ll want to consider when taking them. Younger men, amazingly, could have a higher risk factor.
What The Research Says About Hearing Loss And Pain Killers
Esteemed universities, including Vanderbilt, Harvard, and Brigham Young, performed a thorough 30 year study. 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.
Because the survey was so broad, researchers were unsure of what they would find. After reviewing the data, they were surprised to find a solid connection between loss of hearing and over-the-counter pain relievers.
The data also revealed something even more surprising. Men 50 or younger were almost two times as likely to have hearing loss if they routinely used acetaminophen. Those who frequently used aspirin had a 50% chance of suffering from hearing loss. And those who used NSAIDs (naproxen, ibuprofen) had a 61% chance of getting irreversible hearing loss.
It was also striking that taking low doses regularly appeared to be worse for their hearing than using higher doses occasionally.
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. Causation can only be proven with more study. But these findings are persuasive enough that we ought to reconsider how we’re utilizing pain relievers.
Pain Relievers And Hearing Loss – Present Theories
Scientists have several plausible theories as to why pain relievers might cause hearing impairment.
When you experience pain, your nerves convey this sensation to the brain. Blood flow to a particular nerve is obstructed by over-the-counter pain relievers. This interrupts nerve signals that usually communicate with the brain, so you feel a reduced pain level.
There might also be a reduction of blood flow to the inner ear according to scientists. Lowered blood flow means less oxygen and nutrients. Cells will die from undernourishment if this blood flow is decreased for extended periods.
Acetaminophen, which showed the most appreciable correlation, may also lessen the generation of a particular protein that helps shield the inner ear from loud noises.
Is There Anything That Can be Done?
The most remarkable revelation was that men under 50 were more likely to be affected. This confirms that hearing loss doesn’t just impact the elderly. The steps you take when you’re younger can help preserve your hearing as you age.
While it’s important to note that taking these pain relievers can have some negative repercussions, that doesn’t mean you have to completely stop using them. Use pain medication only when you absolutely need to and when using prescription medication, only as prescribed.
If you can find alternative solutions you should consider them as a first approach. You should also minimize the consumption of inflammation-causing foods and boost Omega-3 fat in your diet. These approaches have been shown to naturally reduce pain and inflammation while enhancing blood flow.
And finally, make an appointment with us for a hearing test. 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 further loss of hearing.