A new study has uncovered another reason to avoid Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve. Prolonged use of these popular over-the-counter painkillers can damage your hearing.
Hearing loss is an epidemic in the U.S. And it’s not just among the elderly. About 15% of Americans over the age of 20 have hearing impairment. Men are twice as likely as women to have the problem. By age 60, almost a quarter of Americans have significant hearing loss.1
The new study provides one reason why…the heavy, widespread use of pain relievers.2
Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston examined health data on more than 54,000 women between the ages of 48 and 73.
The women were part of the ongoing Nurses’ Health Study. The researchers charted usage of aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and acetaminophen (Tylenol) against self-reported hearing loss.
After taking into account age, health, and other factors, they found that those taking ibuprofen and naproxen regularly for six years or more were 10% more likely to suffer hearing loss. Acetaminophen users had a 9% greater risk. Aspirin users saw no increase in risk.3
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The researchers recently published their findings in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Dr. Brian Lin is a resident in otolaryngology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Institute. He is lead author of the study.
The research uncovers “an important modifiable contributor” to hearing loss, he said. He suggests that long-time users of ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen consider alternatives.
The study confirms earlier research showing that men who took more than two doses of ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen each week for one to four years were almost twice as likely to suffer hearing loss than those who took aspirin.4
Dangers of OTC Pain Medications
Hearing loss is not the only danger linked to pain relievers. We’ve warned you in the past that ibuprofen and naproxen can cause heart attacks and strokes and increase the risk of atrial fibrillation.
Acetaminophen carries similar risks and also is tied to liver damage and kidney disease.5
If you are worried about hearing loss, or if it runs in your family, use aspirin for pain relief. It’s less dangerous than other over-the-counter drugs. But even aspirin puts you at risk for stomach bleeding, ulcers, and age-related macular degeneration.
5 Safe, Natural Pain Killers
Natural painkillers can be just as effective as drugs. And they are safer. These five alternatives are widely available at health food stores and online:
- Willow bark contains salicin. It’s chemically related to aspirin. It treats headache, back pain, menstrual cramps, fever, and joint pain.6
- Capsaicin is the compound in hot peppers that makes them spicy. It is applied to the skin as a topical treatment for arthritis and other joint pain.
- Bromelain is a compound extracted from pineapple. It reduces inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis.
- Turmeric reduces pain from muscle pulls and other injuries.
- Magnesium can be extremely effective for migraines and other headaches.
By using these natural products, many people are able to throw away their drugs…and their worries about side effects.7
If you’re concerned about medication dangers, there’s something else you should know… Our special report, The Top 10 Dangerous Pharmaceutical Drugs—And Their Natural Alternatives is an important read for you and your family. There’s a good chance someone you love is endangering his or her life. And they may have no clue.
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