Woman taking pain killers and thinking about her hearing.

You might not recognize that there are consequences connected to aspirin, ibuprofen, and other over-the-counter pain relievers according to new research.

You’ll want to consider the risks to your hearing that many over-the-counter and prescription pain medication present before you choose to use them. Younger men, amazingly, could have a higher risk factor.

Pain Killers And Hearing Loss – What The Research Says

A thorough, 30-year collective study was carried out involving researchers from prestigious universities such as Harvard, Brigham Young, and Vanderbilt. A bi-yearly questionnaire was sent to 27,000 individuals between the age of 40 and 74 which included health and lifestyle questions.

Researchers weren’t certain what to expect because the questionnaire was very broad. After reviewing the data, they were surprised to find a solid link between loss of hearing and over-the-counter pain relievers.

The data also revealed something even more surprising. Men who are under the age of 50 who regularly use acetaminophen were nearly two times as likely to have hearing loss. The chance of initiating hearing loss is 50/50 for individuals who use aspirin frequently. And those who used NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen) had a 61% chance of getting lasting hearing loss.

Another unexpected thing that was discovered was that high doses taken from time to time were not as bad for your hearing as low doses taken frequently.

We can’t be certain that the pain reliever actually was the cause of this loss of hearing even though we can see a definite connection. More research is required to prove causation. But these findings are compelling enough that we ought to reconsider how we’re using pain relievers.

Present Theories About The Connection Between Pain Relievers And Hearing Loss

There are several theories as to why pain relievers could result in hearing loss which scientists have come up with.

Your nerves communicate the sensation of pain to your brain. Over-the-counter pain relievers work by reducing blood flow to specific nerves. You then feel decreased pain as the normal pain signals are impeded.

There might also be a reduction of blood flow to the inner ear according to scientists. This blood brings vital nutrients and oxygen. When the flow is reduced for prolonged time periods, cells become malnourished and die.

Acetaminophen, which showed the most substantial correlation, may also reduce the generation of a particular protein that helps shield the inner ear from loud noises.

Is There Anything That Can be Done?

Probably the biggest point to consider is that men under 50 were more likely to suffer hearing impairment from pain relievers. This verifies that hearing loss doesn’t just affect 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 adverse 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 option. You should also decrease the consumption of inflammation-causing foods and increase Omega-3 fat in your diet. These approaches have been shown to naturally lessen pain and inflammation while enhancing blood flow.

Lastly, is an appointment to see us every year to have your hearing examined. Don’t forget, hearing exams are for individuals of all ages. The best time to start talking to us about avoiding further hearing loss is when you under 50.

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