When you have pain, you may grab some ibuprofen or aspirin without much thought, but new research has revealed risks you need to be aware of.
Many prevalent pain medicines, including those bought over-the-counter, carry risks to your hearing that you’ll want to weigh when considering taking them. Younger men, amazingly, could have a higher risk factor.
What The Research Says About Hearing Loss And Pain Relievers
Prestigious universities, like Vanderbilt, Harvard, and Brigham Young, carried out a thorough 30 year study. The researchers asked 27,000 people between the ages of 40 and 74, to complete a biyearly questionnaire that included several health and lifestyle questions.
Because the questionnaire was so diverse, researchers were unsure of what they would find. But the data demonstrated that over-the-counter pain relievers and hearing loss had a strong link.
They also faced a more startling realization. Men 50 or younger were almost twice as likely to have hearing loss if they regularly used acetaminophen. Individuals who frequently used aspirin had a 50% chance of experiencing hearing loss. And there is a 61% chance that hearing loss will develop in individuals who use NSAIDs (ibuprofen and naproxen).
Another unexpected thing that was revealed was that high doses used once in a while were not as bad for your hearing as low doses taken regularly.
It’s relevant to mention this connection, but it doesn’t definitively demonstrate whether the pain relievers actually were the cause of the hearing loss. Causation can only be proven with more study. But we really should reconsider our use of these pain relievers after these compelling results.
Pain Relievers And Hearing Loss – Present Theories
Experts have numerous possible theories as to why pain relievers might cause hearing impairment.
When you have pain, your nerves communicate this sensation to the brain. Over-the-counter pain relievers work by reducing blood flow to specific nerves. This disrupts nerve signals that usually communicate with the brain, so you feel less pain.
Researchers believe this process also reduces the flow of blood in the inner ear. Less blood flow means less oxygen and nutrients. When the flow is decreased for extended periods of time, cells end up malnourished and die.
Acetaminophen, which showed the most substantial connection, might also minimize the production of a specific protein that helps protect the inner ear from loud noises.
What You Can do?
Perhaps the biggest point to keep in mind is that men under 50 were more likely to suffer hearing loss from pain relievers. This is a solemn reminder that hearing loss can happen 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 repercussions, that doesn’t mean you have to completely stop using them. Take pain relievers as prescribed and minimize how often you take them if possible.
Look for other pain relief possibilities, including light exercise. You should also reduce the consumption of inflammation-causing foods and increase Omega-3 fat in your diet. Decreased pain and enhanced blood flow have been demonstrated to come from these methods.
And finally, make an appointment with us for a hearing examination. Don’t forget, hearing tests are for people of all ages. If you’re under 50, now is the time to start speaking with us about avoiding further hearing loss.