hard of hearing man cups his ear to hear better

Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen are taken daily by millions of Americans. Because they are available without a prescription most people believe they are completely safe. Research has suggested, however, that such analgesics may cause a range of side effects, including high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, and colon or kidney cancer. Men who use such pain relievers regularly are at a greater risk of hearing loss. Now results from the Nurses’ Health Study II suggest that women may also develop hearing loss if they take acetaminophen or ibuprofen on a regular basis. The investigators suggest that middle-aged women worried about hearing loss might not want to rely heavily on such medications for joint pain, menstrual cramps, backache or headache.

[American Journal of Epidemiology, Oct. 1, 2012]

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  1. VC

    What can we take for fibromyalgia, arthritis, back pain, etc., if everything causes such dreadful side effects? Narcotics have their own risks & limitations too. Guess if we didn’t live so long today all this would be moot!

  2. Brandon M.

    I’d like to hear the answer to abigail’s question. Something like that would concern me.

  3. abigail

    Are there also hearing losses from taking anticholinergics? I have increased trouble hearing people speak after I have taken Lomotil anti -diarrhea tablets. (diphenoxl with atropine).

  4. PK

    What doses are they talking about? What are the alternatives?

  5. s.h.

    On the last Friday morning of October, 2006, our family took a weekend get away that would involve hours of sitting, then lots of walking. I took an 800 mg Rx Motrin. I assumed it was time released, because of its dosage size. Wrong.
    I took another the evening of the second day. I woke up that Sunday morning to ringing ears. Still ringing. Ringing as I type this.
    I have always used hearing protection and carry little pink foam ear plugs in my purse. I have Excellent hearing, except for the ringing……..
    I have tried lipofloids, etc., but feel the ringing is due to the two doses of 800 mg Rx Motrin.

  6. Karen

    >Now results from the Nurses’ Health Study II suggest that women may also develop hearing loss if they take acetaminophen or ibuprofen on a regular basis.
    Insufficient information to determine how to change my life. Can we have some numbers, please? How many pills / week? How long? As well as some data about whether these nurses were asked about exposure to noise in their teen years?
    Many of my peers have extensive rock-concert attendance histories that are only now beginning to appear in the form of hearing loss. In addition, we have the enormous population we refer to as the FDPA–future deaf people of America–who ride around in cars with overpowered stereo systems.
    Unless you can tell me that these other, well-known hearing loss causes were controlled for, I’m just not worried enough to do anything.
    yrs in skepticism, as always.

  7. LR

    What is meant by “rely heavily”? Wish Medicare covered alternative medicines.

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