When you’re in pain, you may reach for aspirin or ibuprofen without much thought, but new studies have demonstrated risks you should be aware of.
You’ll want to consider the risks to your hearing that many over-the-counter and prescription pain medication present before you decide to use them. Younger men, amazingly, could have a higher risk factor.
What Studies Say About Hearing Loss And Pain Killers
A comprehensive, 30-year cooperative study was conducted among researchers from prestigious universities including Harvard, Brigham Young, and Vanderbilt. A bi-yearly questionnaire was sent to 27,000 people between the age of 40 and 74 which included health and lifestyle questions.
Because the survey was so diverse, researchers were uncertain of what they would discover. After analyzing the data, they were surprised to find a solid link between loss of hearing and over-the-counter pain relievers.
They also faced a more startling conclusion. Men 50 or younger were approximately two times as likely to have hearing loss if they frequently used acetaminophen. Individuals who regularly 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.
It was also striking that consuming low doses regularly appeared to be more detrimental to their hearing than taking higher doses once in a while.
We can’t be sure that the pain reliever actually caused this loss of hearing even though we can see a distinct connection. Causation can only be demonstrated with further study. But these findings are persuasive enough that we ought to rethink how we’re utilizing pain relievers.
Current Theories About The Connection Between Hearing Loss And Pain Relievers
Experts have several possible theories as to why pain relievers could cause hearing impairment.
Your nerves convey the experience of pain to your brain. Over-the-counter pain relievers work by limiting blood flow to particular nerves. This interrupts nerve signals that usually communicate with the brain, so you feel a reduced pain level.
There might also be a reduction of blood flow to the inner ear according to scientists. This blood brings vital nutrients and oxygen. Cells will die from malnourishment if this blood flow is reduced for extended periods.
Acetaminophen, which showed the most appreciable link, might also reduce the generation of a specific protein that helps shield the inner ear from loud noises.
What You Can do?
The most remarkable insight was that men under 50 were more likely to be impacted. This verifies 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 taking these pain relievers can have some negative repercussions, that doesn’t mean you have to entirely stop using them. Use pain medication only when you absolutely need to and when dealing with prescription medication, only as prescribed.
Try to find other pain relief possibilities, including light exercise. You should also minimize the consumption of inflammation-producing foods and boost Omega-3 fat in your diet. Reduced pain and improved blood flow have been shown to come from these methods.
Lastly, is an appointment to see us every year to have your hearing examined. Remember, you’re never too young to have your hearing checked. The best time to start talking to us about preventing further hearing loss is when you under 50.