New Study: Regular Painkiller Use May Lead to Hearing Loss in Men

Posted on March 5, 2010. Filed under: hearing health | Tags: , , , , , |

There may be yet another cause of hearing problems to add to the most common risk factors, which already includes loud noises, hypertension, diabetes, excessive alcohol use, and the use of certain diuretics.

Picture of Medicine Capsules

A new study of men over age 45 shows that there may be a link between regular painkiller use and hearing loss.

According to the results of a new study that has just been published in the American Medical Journal, there is an association between Analgesics (Painkillers) and hearing loss. There have been other studies with humans and animals that have shown the connection between large doses of analgesics and hearing loss, but there is not too much information on whether regular analgesic use affects hearing loss, or how acetaminophen (i.e. Tylenol) use can affect your hearing.

To find out how analgesics contribute to hearing loss, researchers studied 26, 917 men aged 40 to 75 (in 1986, when the study began), who were asked to fill out a questionnaire on their lifestyle, drug use, and health, including questions on (professionally documented) hearing loss. During 369, 079 person-years worth of research (a person-year represents a year in a person’s life), the team found 3,488 new cases of hearing loss. After controlling for other risk factors, the results were quite suprising. (Researchers noted that most people who participated in the study were Caucasian, and all were mature males- more studies are required to see if this affects other groups of people differently.)

Researchers discovered that for all the men who took aspirin at least twice a week, there was a 12 percent increased risk of hearing loss, the men who used ibuprofen and other NSAID’s, (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, common examples include naproxen and celecoxib, which are most notably sold as Aleve and Celebrex, respectively), there was a 21 percent increased risk of hearing loss, and the men who used acetaminophen had a 22 percent increased risk of hearing loss.

Most surprising, perhaps, were how the results changed for men under the age of 50. These men exhibited a 33 percent increased risk of hearing loss for regular aspirin users, a 61 percent increase for ibuprofen and NSAID users, and a 99 percent increased risk of hearing loss for regular acetaminophen users.

What remains to be seen, however, is how other factors may have come into play here, especially for the youngest participants in this study. More extensive research is required to ascertain whether or not there is a solid link between painkillers and hearing loss, but a connection does seem to be there.

Whether or not your hearing has been a victim of aging, loud noises, hypertension, diabetes, excessive alcohol use, certain diuretics or (possibly) painkillers, Dr. Joseph K. Duran and his team of licensed hearing professionals at New Generation Hearing Center in Miami, FL will do their best to help you get your hearing and your life back on track. New Generation is the home of Miami’s greatest hearing professionals, with the experience, knowledge, and friendly service to make your visit an enjoyable and enriching experience. Why not get in touch with them today?


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