Gilberts Audiology & Hearing Aid Center - Oklahoma

Woman taking pain killers and thinking about her hearing.

You may not recognize that there are risks linked to aspirin, ibuprofen, and other over-the-counter pain relievers according to new research.

Many prevalent pain relievers, including store-bought brands, carry risks to your hearing that you’ll want to weigh when considering using them. Younger men, surprisingly, could have a higher risk factor.

Pain Killers And Hearing Loss – What The Research Says

A thorough, 30-year collective study was conducted among researchers from esteemed universities like Harvard, Brigham Young, and Vanderbilt. The researchers asked 27,000 people ages 40 to 74, to complete a biyearly questionnaire that included numerous health and lifestyle questions.

Because the questionnaire was so broad, researchers were unsure of what they would find. After evaluating the data, they were surprised to find a solid link between loss of hearing and over-the-counter pain relievers.

The data also showed something even more surprising. Men 50 or younger were nearly twice as likely to have hearing loss if they routinely used acetaminophen. Individuals who frequently used aspirin had a 50% chance of experiencing hearing loss. And those who used NSAIDs (naproxen, ibuprofen) had a 61% chance of developing irreversible hearing loss.

It was also striking that taking low doses frequently seemed to be worse for their hearing than using higher doses once in a while.

We can’t be sure that the pain reliever actually was the cause of this hearing loss even though we can see a distinct correlation. Causation can only be demonstrated with further study. But we really need to reconsider our use of these pain relievers after these persuasive results.

Present Theories About The Connection Between Hearing Loss And Pain Relievers

Scientists have numerous possible theories as to why pain relievers might cause hearing damage.

When you have pain, your nerves convey this feeling to the brain. Over-the-counter pain relievers work by decreasing the flow of blood to particular nerves. This disrupts nerve signals that normally communicate with the brain, so you feel a reduced pain level.

Researchers think this process also reduces blood flow in the inner ear. Lowered blood flow means less nutrients and oxygen. Cells will die from undernourishment if this blood flow is decreased for extended periods.

Also, there’s a particular protein that guards the inner ear from loud noises and it seems like acetaminophen, in particular, may block this.

What You Can do?

The most noteworthy revelation was that men younger than 50 were more likely to be impacted. 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 maintaining your hearing.

While it’s important to note that taking these pain relievers can have some adverse consequences, 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 gentle exercise. It would also be a practical idea to boost the Omega-3 fat in your diet and minimize foods that cause inflammation. Reduced pain and better blood flow have been shown to come from these methods.

Lastly, is an appointment to see us every year to get your hearing checked. Don’t forget, you’re never too young to get your hearing tested. The best time to begin speaking with us about preventing further hearing loss is when you under 50.

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
Why wait? You don't have to live with hearing loss. Call Us Today