When you experience pain, you might grab some aspirin or ibuprofen without much thought, but new research has revealed risks you need to be aware of.
You’ll want to look at the risks to your hearing that many over-the-counter and prescription pain medication carry before you decide to use them. Astonishingly, younger men might be at higher risk.
What Studies Say About Hearing Loss And Pain Killers
A thorough, 30-year collaborative study was conducted involving researchers from prestigious universities like Harvard, Brigham Young, and Vanderbilt. The researchers asked 27,000 individuals between the ages of 40 and 74, to fill out a biennial survey that included numerous lifestyle and health questions.
Researchers weren’t sure what to expect because the questionnaire was very diverse. But the data revealed that over-the-counter pain relievers and hearing loss had a solid link.
The data also showed something even more shocking. Men younger than 50 were almost twice as likely to have hearing loss if they frequently used acetaminophen. Individuals who frequently used aspirin had a 50% chance of experiencing hearing loss. And those who used NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen) had a 61% chance of getting permanent hearing loss.
Another unexpected thing that was discovered was that high doses taken occasionally were not as harmful for your hearing as low doses taken frequently.
We can’t be sure that the pain reliever actually caused this hearing loss even though we can see a definite connection. More research is required to prove causation. But we really should reconsider our use of these pain relievers after these persuasive findings.
Hearing Loss And Pain Relievers – Current Theories
Researchers have numerous conceivable theories as to why pain relievers could cause hearing damage.
When you experience pain, your nerves communicate this feeling to the brain. Over-the-counter pain relievers work by reducing the flow of blood to particular nerves. This interrupts nerve signals that usually communicate with the brain, so you feel a reduced pain level.
There may also be a decrease of blood flow to the inner ear according to researchers. This blood brings vital oxygen and nutrients. Cells will die from undernourishment if this blood flow is reduced for extended periods.
Also, there’s a specific protein that protects the inner ear from loud noises and it seems like 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 loss from pain relievers. This confirms that hearing loss doesn’t just impact the elderly. The steps you take when you’re younger can help safeguard your hearing as you age.
While it’s important to note that using these pain relievers can have some negative repercussions, that doesn’t mean you have to entirely stop using them. Take pain relievers as prescribed and minimize how often you use them if possible.
Try to find other pain relief options, including light exercise. You should also decrease the consumption of inflammation-causing foods and boost Omega-3 fat in your diet. Reduced pain and better blood flow have been demonstrated to come from these practices.
And finally, schedule an appointment with us for a hearing test. Don’t forget, you’re never too young to have your hearing checked. The best time to start speaking with us about avoiding additional hearing loss is when you under 50.