OTC Pain Relievers Increase Risk of Hearing Loss

According to a Harvard study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, people who took over the counter (OTC) pain relievers at least twice a week experienced up to 24 percent increase in risk for hearing loss.

Researchers speculate that the pain relievers may be damaging the cochlea, the snail-shaped hearing mechanism in your inner ear.

“Ibuprofen can reduce blood flow to the cochlea, which could result in cellular damage and cell death,” said Dr. Sharon Curhan, study author and instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School in a press release. “Acetaminophen may deplete the antioxidant glutathione, which protects the cochlea from damage.”

There is variety of degrees in hearing loss that involves mild, severe, permanent or temporary loss. Studies have shown that loud noises, music etc., can damage structure over time as well as age. Even wax build up can cause hearing loss.

After a doctor’s examination, hearing loss may result in the use of a hearing aid. Almost one-third of people ages 65 to 74 report difficulty hearing, and the number rises to about half at 75, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 37 million people in the United States suffer from hearing loss and many that need a hearing aid and do not have the health benefits to pay for devices.

However, the American Speech-Language Hearing Association has mandated certain states to pay for coverage. Please see their site for more information concerning health care coverage.

Unless hearing loss is due to an underlying medical condition – such as a brain tumor or illness – hearing loss will not affect life insurance rates. If you have a congenital hearing loss, your premiums will not be higher than an individual who does not having hearing issues.

Be cognizant of how much OTC pain relievers you take so that you keep in mind it can cause an up to 24 percent increase in risk for hearing loss.

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