Pain Relief Medication Can Cause Hearing Loss in Women

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Women that frequent standard pain relief medications are at risk for eventual hearing loss. Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital led the study that revealed women that consumed ibuprofen or acetaminophen were at risk of incurring hearing loss.

Researchers unveiled that the frequency of consumption of the pain relief medications correlated with the risk of hearing loss; if women took the pain relief medication two or more days per week their chances of incurring hearing loss increased.

The findings of the study raise concerns among researchers. Typically during a standard menstrual period of about a week, women are likely to take anywhere from four to five pills per day. Data revealed that the risk of hearing loss was more prevalent among women under the age of fifty-years-old – and the average age of menopause.

“Possible mechanisms might be that NSAIDs [ the chemical compound of Ibuprofen] may reduce blood flow to the cochlea — the hearing organ — and impair its role [while] Acetaminophen may deplete factors that protect the cochlea from damage,” said first study author Sharon G. Curhan, MD, BWH Channing Division of Network Medicine, as quoted from a report by Brigham and Women's Hospital.

A data sample of over 62,000 females studied; they were between the ages of 31 to 48 were followed from 1995 through 2009 and 2012; and had reported to have acquired light, moderate to severe loss of hearing since they were young adults. Subjects that took ibuprofen at a frequency of to two to three days a week at a time were on average thirteen percent higher at risk for hearing loss compared to women that used the drug once per week. Women who used the medication four to five days per week had an increased risk of twenty-one percent; those that used six or more days per week rose to twenty-four percent. Results for women that used acetaminophen were similar to those of women that used ibuprofen. Aspirin use had no effect on women's hearing loss.

“If individuals find a need to take these types of medications regularly, they should consult with their health care professional to discuss the risks and benefits and to explore other possible alternatives,” said Curhan.

Hearing loss is now number six as the most common ailment according to the World Health Organization. In a another report by the Hearing Health Foundation, it states that 1 in 5 Americans suffer from hearing loss in at least one ear; and over fifty percent of American adults suffer from high-frequency hearing loss when they reach sixty years of age. By time they reach their 50s, one-third of subjects would have experience hearing loss and come their 60s, close to two-thirds would have experienced not being able to hear as well as before.

Paul Lee is a personal injury lawyer that makes sure consumers stay informed about health related issues.

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