Popular pain-relieving medicines are causing hearing loss among women, researchers from the Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have found.
Women who regularly use painkillers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen are more likely to suffer hearing loss. They claim that women, who consume either of these medications, almost every day, have higher risk of hearing loss
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"Possible mechanisms might be that these tablets may reduce blood flow to the cochlea - the hearing organ - and impair its function," said Sharon G Curhan, researcher at the BWH Channing Division of Network Medicine. "Acetaminophen may deplete factors that protect the cochlea from damage."
The discovery was made while analysing the data of more than 62,260 women aged between 31 and 48. Researchers examined the relationship between frequency of aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen use and risk of hearing loss among the participants from from 1995 to 2009.
The study found that women, who used ibuprofen two to three days per week, had a 13 percent increased risk of hearing loss than women who used ibuprofen less than once per week.
However, women who used the medication four to five days per week had a 21 percent higher risk of developing hear loss. Women, who used ibuprofen six or more days per week, had a 24 percent higher risk of hearing loss.
Researchers also found that women used acetaminophen two to three days per week had an 11 percent increased risk for hearing loss, while women taking the medicine 4 to 5 days per week had a 21 percent increased risk.
Researchers did not find any link between aspirin use and hearing loss, according to the findings published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
"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.
According to the World Health Organization, adult-onset hearing loss is the sixth most common disease burden in high-income countries. By 2030 adult onset hearing loss will be in the top ten disease burdens in the UK.
By 2031, nearly 14.5 million people in the UK will be suffering from hearing loss, according to the Action Hearing Loss. Org.