Hearing loss is something we want to avoid at all costs. There are times when you have no control over your hearing loss, however, if there is something you could do to prevent it from occurring, wouldn’t you? Well, new information has been brought to light about over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications and their relationship to hearing loss.
Anyone who has ever had a headache, fever or body ache, knows how wonderful OTC pain medications are. They are an easy to grab, relatively inexpensive solution to get rid of our most common aches and pains, and can often feel like a life saver. However, what most may not realize, is that taking these medications, especially pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol), puts our hearing health in jeopardy.
For those of us who have the occasional headache, these over-the-counter medications are wonderful. It is easy to pop one and go. But for those with every day aches and pains, OTCs like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) that are taken on a daily basis are not a good idea. While this may help curb the pain, so they can perform everyday activities, long-term use of OTCs can cause more damage to the body than was originally thought.
Long-term use of OTC medications has already been linked with increased risk of heart failure, hypertension, and kidney problems. However, perhaps the most un-considered damage of OTCs would be to the ears. While the exact cause of harm is still being researched, there is a definite link between hearing loss and OTC pain medications, especially NSAIDs, and acetaminophen. The causes of this loss of hearing is due to either damage to the cells in the ear, or compromised blood and oxygen flow to the inner parts of the ear. Regardless of the physiological reason, hearing loss is a serious complication.
People are being urged to treat the root cause of their aches and pains, rather than reaching for NSAIDs and acetaminophen every day. Even though it might be easier to just take a pill and go, it is a much better idea to treat the root cause of your pain. Masking the symptoms does not solve anything, instead you will be feeding your body something that could potentially cause even worse harm.
Maybe you struggle with drinking enough water each day, which causes you to suffer from dehydration headaches. Instead of taking an NSAID every day, or even 5 times a week, perhaps try to increase your water intake. Keeping a bottle of water with you at all times might just help save your hearing. If you have chronic joint pain, consider visiting a doctor, or perform activities that would build up the muscles around the area.
When taken as directed, as an occasional treatment for aches and pains, OTCs are perfectly safe. However, if these medications are taken on a long-term basis, they put your hearing in danger. Even though these medications are at our disposal, like most things, we need to use caution when taking them, and do so in moderation. Hearing loss is too big a price to pay for everyday aches and pains.