For Women, Painkiller Use May Lead to Hearing Loss

For Women, Painkiller Use May Lead to Hearing Loss

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA Hearing Loss Causes

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA
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The main reason for concern is that hearing loss is one of the top three growing, public health issues in the US aside from cancer and diabetes. According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NDICD), “One in eight people in the United States (13 percent, or 30 million) aged 12 years or older has hearing loss in both ears, based on standard hearing examinations.”

It is estimated that there are almost 8 million women in the US that suffer from hearing impairment. For those that have been evaluated with hearing loss, there is over a seven-year lag before treatment is procured.

If you are reading this and have already visited us at Encore Hearing, then you have taken the first crucial step towards the maintenance of your health. As technology and medical research are forging us towards a variety of options and treatments suited to our hearing health needs, we also need to be aware of our own practices and avoid negatively impacting our hearing health.

Factors that Influence Hearing Loss

Women with hearing loss, or are concerned about their hearing abilities, need to be vigilant about their health. We are quick to get on board with fitness programs, eating well balanced nutritious meals and constantly battling for a work life balance. It is equally important that we stay ahead of the curve when attending to our hearing health.

What are some of the factors that put women at risk for hearing loss and why should we be concerned?

  • Nutrition
  • Genetics
  • Medicine
  • Alcohol intake
  • Smoking
  • Medical conditions
  • Age
  • Personal practices

Over the Counter Meds & Hearing Loss

We often take Over the Counter (OTC) medicine to deal with minor aches and pains. This practice, like any other, is not harmful if done appropriately and is best if approved by your personal physician. The study between the intake of ibuprofen (NSAIDS) and paracetamol, two very popular OTC medicines, have been shown to be linked to hearing loss.

Data and research compiled from the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Vanderbilt University, Brigham Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. This study shows linkage, not causality, and reflects patterns and connections between factors. In this case, the data from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS1) of over 50,000 white women was compiled and analyzed starting in the year 1976. The age of the women from the start date ranged from 44 to 69 and reported their use of NSAIDS and paracetamol every two years.

The study, ending in 2012, calculated what is termed as “confounding factors” into its results. These factors included but were not limited to:

  • Ethnic origin
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Alcohol consumption and smoking
  • Intake of micronutrients in diet linked to hearing
  • Physical activity
  • Diabetes, hypertension and tinnitus

Age was also factored in because it is always a proponent of hearing loss. The main takeaway from the study is the linkage between the amount of time painkillers were taken on a regular basis, dosage and the increased incidence of hearing loss. For example, women showed an increase in hearing loss if their dosage was twice a week of painkillers for a year as opposed to those that took less. Another example, is that the study showed a definite increase in hearing loss after 6 years of usage of painkillers.

The percentage of increase rose to up to 10% for those that took either NSAIDS or paracetamol.

What we need to keep in mind about our age and our hearing health is to stay vigilant about our intake of medicine as even the most benign might have adverse effects later in our lives. Our daily routines, such as headphone use or loud musical venues, need to be mitigated. Preventative techniques such as the use of ear plugs in high decibel and long-term exposure situations at home or work, need to be put into play.

Encore Hearing

At Encore Hearing we welcome your call and hope that your first appointment with us will signal the beginning of a healthier you! We understand the complexities of hearing loss and the overwhelming amount of information regarding cutting edge hearing treatments. We look forward to tailoring a program catering to your specific needs and look forward to getting you started on richer hearing experience now!