Pain Killers And Hearing Loss
Regular use of the over-the-counter painkillers ibuprofen and acetaminophen has been associated with hearing loss for some time. The latest word on this comes from an investigation showing that the longer women take these drugs, the higher their risk that the medications will affect their hearing. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston examined data from more than 54,000 women between the ages of 48 and 73 enrolled in the long-running Nurses’ Health Study. They noted that as many as two-thirds of women in the U.S. over the age of 60 have some degree of hearing loss. For the investigation, they looked at the women’s use of aspirin, as well as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Surprisingly, they didn’t see an association between long-term use of aspirin and hearing loss (using high doses of aspirin is a known risk for hearing loss, but the researchers noted that taking these amounts no longer is common). Although the link between ibuprofen and acetaminophen and hearing loss has been established, the mechanism responsible isn’t known. The same research team has previously published findings that linked higher usage of ibuprofen and acetaminophen to hearing loss in men and in younger women.
Gary Curhan et al, “Duration of Analgesic Use and Risk of Hearing Loss in Women.” American Journal of Epidemiology, December 14, 2016, doi: 10.1093/aje/kww154
Also from this week’s health bulletin: