When you have pain, you may grab some ibuprofen or aspirin without much thought, but new studies have 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 choose to use them. Surprisingly, younger men may be at greater risk.
Pain Relievers And Hearing Loss – What The Studies Say
A thorough, 30-year collective study was carried out involving researchers from esteemed universities including Harvard, Brigham Young, and Vanderbilt. The researchers asked 27,000 individuals between the ages of 40 and 74, to complete a biyearly survey that included numerous health and lifestyle questions.
Researchers weren’t sure what to expect because the questionnaire was very extensive. But the data demonstrated that over-the-counter pain relievers and loss of hearing had a solid connection.
They also came to a more surprising conclusion. Men who are 50 or under who regularly use acetaminophen were almost twice as likely to have loss of hearing. Those who frequently used aspirin had a 50% chance of suffering from hearing loss. And there is a 61% chance that hearing loss will develop in individuals who use NSAIDs (ibuprofen and naproxen).
Another surprising thing that was discovered was that high doses used occasionally were not as harmful for your hearing as low doses taken regularly.
It’s significant to mention this correlation, but it doesn’t definitively reveal whether the pain relievers in fact were the cause of the hearing loss. More studies are required to prove causation. But these discoveries are persuasive enough that we should reconsider how we’re utilizing pain relievers.
Present Theories About The Connection Between Pain Relievers And Hearing Loss
Researchers have numerous plausible theories as to why pain relievers might cause hearing damage.
Your nerves communicate the sensation of pain to your brain. Blood flow to a specific nerve is obstructed by over-the-counter pain relievers. You then feel less pain as the regular pain signals are blocked.
Scientists suspect this process also decreases blood flow in the inner ear. Less blood flow means less nutrients and oxygen. When the flow is reduced for extended periods of time, cells end up malnourished and die.
Acetaminophen, which showed the most appreciable connection, might also minimize the generation of a specific protein that helps protect the inner ear from loud noises.
Is There Anything That Can be Done?
The most noteworthy insight was that men under 50 were the most likely to be affected. This verifies 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 we aren’t implying that you entirely stop using pain relievers, you should understand that there could be unfavorable consequences. Take pain relievers as prescribed and lessen how often you use them if possible.
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. Reduced pain and improved blood flow have been demonstrated to come from these methods.
And finally, make an appointment with us for a hearing exam. Don’t forget, hearing exams are for people of all ages. The best time to begin speaking with us about preventing further hearing loss is when you under 50.