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Acetaminophen and hearing loss

Kill the pain — and your hearing
We’re all used to the warnings about loud music and hearing loss. But, no matter how carefully you watch the volume, you could still end up hard of hearing — and you’ll never guess why…

We all grew up with the warnings about pumping up the volume in the car or going to rock concerts. But, no matter how low we keep the noise level or how many pairs of earplugs we go through, it could all be for nothing.

Because your hearing could still be at risk. And you might never guess why.

Turns out, hearing loss could be caused in part by regular use of the three most common drugs in the US — aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen.

That’s right — there’s one more thing we can add to the already-lengthy list of reasons not to take mainstream painkillers: A higher risk of losing your hearing.

These surprising findings came out of a study called the Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study. As part of the study, 27,000 men have provided information on analgesic use and hearing loss every two years since 1986.

Researchers found that, among men under 50, the risk of hearing loss was actually DOUBLED in those who regularly took acetaminophen more than two times a week.

Men who regularly took ibuprofen or other NSAIDs at least twice a week had an almost two-thirds higher risk of hearing loss, and men who took aspirin twice a week had risk of hearing loss one-third higher than men who took the drug less regularly. For NSAIDS and acetaminophen, the risk went up the longer the men used the drugs.

It’s been known for a while now that very high doses of NSAIDS can cause hearing loss, as can very high doses of aspirin. While the researchers don’t know how much of the drugs the men in the study were taking, it’s probably safe to assume that most of them weren’t taking more than a normal amount.

And if you think about how many doctors still recommend regular aspirin use for heart protection, it becomes pretty clear that we need to get the word about this research out there NOW.

Hearing loss is already too common, and we don’t need anything else contributing to that. The researchers noted that the use of these drugs could be one of the “few preventable causes of hearing loss.”

If you didn’t have enough reasons before, this could be the last straw — it could finally be time to clean out the medicine cabinet for good.

Source:
“Common painkillers might make you hard of hearing,” Reuters (www.reuters.com)