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Popular Pain Meds Linked to Hearing Loss in Women

Analgesics are widely used medications in the United States, but they may also trigger hearing problems.

By Jaimie Dalessio Clayton

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THURSDAY, Sept. 13, 2012— Do you often take Advil, Midol, or Tylenol? Now, do you often ask people to repeat what they've just said?

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston have found an association between analgesics — commonly used pain medications — and hearing loss in women. They based their study on data collected over 14 years from 62,261 women who participated in the Nurses' Health Study II from 1995 to 2009. During that time, 10,012 women reported hearing loss.

Specifically, women who took ibuprofen or acetaminophen two or more days per week had a higher risk of hearing loss compared to women who used them less than once per week, and risk increased with frequency, the study found. Here's the breakdown:

Compared to women who used ibuprofen less than once per week, the increased risk for hearing loss was as follows:

  • 2 to 3 days per week: 13 percent higher
  • 4 to 5 days per week: 21 percent higher
  • 6 or more days per week: 24 percent higher

Compared with women who used acetaminophen less than once per week, the increased risk for hearing loss was as follows:

  • 2 to 3 days per week: 11 percent higher
  • 4 to 5 days per week: 21 percent higher

Brand names for ibuprofen include Advil and Midol, while many people know acetaminophen as Tylenol. The researchers say they believe these drugs may reduce blood flow to the cochlea, causing damage.

"Hearing loss is such a common and chronic condition," says the report's lead author Sharon G. Curhan, MD, who points out that more than half of American adults suffer from high-frequency hearing loss by the time they turn 60. "Up to a third of women in their 50s and two-thirds of women in their 60s have hearing loss," she says.

Past research had showed a link between analgesic use and hearing loss in men, Curhan says, but this study — released this week in theAmerican Journal of Epidemiology— was the first to examine the risk in women. The two studies are so different that it's difficult to compare the risk in men versus women.

The most cited reasons for taking analgesics, according to a sub-study of the larger data population, were muscle and joint pain, headache, menstrual cramps, and back ache, Curhan says.

If you find yourself needing to take over-the-counter pain meds several times a week, see a doctor to discuss risks, benefits, and alternatives.






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Date: 15.12.2018, 20:26 / Views: 61463