Dr Oz: Pain Relievers Cause Hearing Loss
Most of us keep Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen in our medicine cabinets. But there’s something Dr Oz thinks we need to know before we pop another OTC pain reliever. Could Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen cause hearing damage?
From headaches and cramps to back pain and inflammation, 36 million Americans take pain relievers each day. But new research concludes that this could add up to a hearing loss risk. A 14-year study found that the two most popular pain relievers, Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen, caused an 21% increased risk of hearing loss. What was that?
Dr Oz: Acetaminophen & Ibuprofen Cause Hearing Loss
The study focused on women who used pain relievers four to five times each week; that’s who had the 21% risk increase. For women who used pain relievers only two or three times each week, the risk for hearing loss was 12%.
A large percentage of the studio audience said they take these pain relievers about four to five times per week. Many of them believed they also had hearing loss issues.
How Does Ibuprofen & Acetaminophen Damage Your Hearing?
Audience member Alexis said she usually takes these pain relievers about twice per week; but when she is in pain, she can get up to four times per week. She never knew this could be unsafe.
Bonnie said she uses these pain relievers almost every day, taking more when the first dosage doesn’t work. Now that you mention it, Bonnie admits she’s been cranking up the volume on her TV.
Dr Oz asked Bonnie’s daughter Erin about her mom’s hearing loss. Erin said she used to be able to shout to her mother from upstairs, but now she has to come downstairs for her mom to hear what she’s saying.
Dr Oz: How Pain Relievers Cause Hearing Loss
It’s not believed that these medications cause deafness, just hearing loss. But Dr Oz brought the experts in to talk about what these study results might mean. Hearing expert Dr Sharon Curhan explained why it’s taken so long for the news about these common medications to come out.
“We’ve previously found that these analgesics can be toxic to the kidneys, and many medications that are damaging to kidneys are also damaging to the ears,” she said.
An animation showed the cochlea, deep in the inner ear. It looks like a snail, and it’s what sends sound to the brain. Various molecules surround the cochlea to protect it. Dr Oz used pillows to represent them, taking one away for each medication dosage.
Taking this medication removes those molecules, leaving the cochlea exposed. When that happens, loud noises such as sirens could lead to slow hearing loss. But there are other reasons that could affect your hearing as well.
Dr Oz: Am I Having Hearing Loss?
Audiologist Dr Craig Kasper said that hearing loss isn’t just a problem for aging populations. He estimated that 65% of the 36 million hearing loss sufferers in the US are under the age of 65. Maybe we all listened to too much of Rick Springfield’s rock tunes?
Dr Oz Hearing Damage Symptoms of Pain Relievers
Here are the symptoms you can watch for to determine whether you’re suffering from hearing loss:
- Loss of clarity
- Difficulty with group conversation or crowds
- Turning up the TV volume
- Trouble hearing on the phone
- Inability to hear someone speaking in another room
- Ears ringing
These are small changes you might notice in your daily routine that suggest some hearing loss. Check with a doctor for further testing and recommendations if you think this might be happening to you.