Focus Hearing - Overland Park, KS

Woman taking pain killers and thinking about her hearing.

You might not recognize that there are consequences associated with aspirin, ibuprofen, and other over-the-counter pain relievers according to new studies.

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

What The Research Says About Hearing Loss And Pain Killers

A comprehensive, 30-year collective study was carried out among researchers from esteemed universities such as Harvard, Brigham Young, and Vanderbilt. The researchers asked 27,000 people ages 40 to 74, to fill out a biennial questionnaire that included numerous health and lifestyle questions.

Because the survey was so broad, researchers were unsure of what they would find. But the data demonstrated that over-the-counter pain relievers and hearing loss had a strong connection.

The data also showed something even more surprising. Men younger than 50 were almost twice as likely to have hearing loss if they regularly used acetaminophen. Those who frequently used aspirin had a 50% chance of suffering from hearing loss. And there’s a 61% chance that hearing loss will develop in individuals who use NSAIDs (ibuprofen and naproxen).

It was also striking that taking low doses regularly appeared to be worse for their hearing than using higher doses occasionally.

It’s relevant to note this correlation, but it doesn’t definitively show whether the pain relievers actually caused the hearing loss. Causation can only be proven with further study. But these findings are compelling enough that we ought to reconsider how we’re using pain relievers.

Current Theories About The Connection Between Pain Relievers And Hearing Loss

Experts have numerous plausible theories as to why pain relievers may cause hearing impairment.

When you experience pain, your nerves convey this feeling to the brain. Over-the-counter pain relievers work by reducing the flow of blood to particular nerves. You then feel reduced pain as the normal pain signals are blocked.

There might also be a decrease of blood flow to the inner ear according to scientists. This blood carries vital oxygen and nutrients. When the flow is decreased for prolonged time periods, cells end up malnourished and die.

Acetaminophen, which showed the most substantial connection, might also reduce the production of a specific protein that helps protect the inner ear from loud noises.

What You Can do?

Probably the most significant point to consider is that men under 50 were more likely to suffer hearing loss from pain relievers. This is a solemn reminder that hearing impairment can occur at any age. 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 unfavorable repercussions, that doesn’t mean you need to entirely stop using them. Use pain medication only when you absolutely need to and when using prescription medication, only as prescribed.

Seek out other pain relief solutions, including gentle exercise. You should also reduce the consumption of inflammation-producing foods and increase Omega-3 fat in your diet. These practices have been shown to naturally lessen inflammation and pain while improving blood flow.

Lastly, is an appointment to see us every year to have your hearing examined. Don’t forget, hearing tests are for individuals of all ages. If you’re under 50, now is the time to begin speaking with us about eliminating additional loss of hearing.

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