Study Shows Hearing Loss Risk Increased by Painkillers

Posted on June 7, 2010


Consistent use of painkillers such as aspirin and acetaminophen increases the risk of hearing loss among men under the age of 50 according to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine in March. The study and results are discussed in an article in the Los Angeles Times.

For the study, Dr. Sharon G Curhan of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and her team reviewed cases of 26,917 men took part in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. The participants in the study that they looked at were men who were between the ages of 40 and 75 when they first enrolled in the study in 1986. Every two years the participants in the study were asked a variety of questions, including questions about drug use, lifestyle and if hearing loss had been documented by a professional.

The research showed that using acetaminophen more than twice a week doubles the risk of hearing loss in men younger than 50. They also showed the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs more than twice a week increases the risk of hearing loss by about two-thirds, and regular use of aspirin increases the risk of hearing loss by approximately one-third.

The study only included men so it is unclear if hearing loss and use of pain medications is correlated in women.