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An Aspirin a Day May Take One’s Hearing Away
Date:5/14/2013

Women’s Hospital has studied the causes of hearing loss for over 25 years. A connection was found between analgesic use and hearing loss. They published their results as Analgesic Use and the Risk of Hearing Loss in Women in the September 2012 issue of American Journal of Epidemiology. Prefacing their findings, the researchers note that over 36 million Americans have hearing loss. More than 50% of Americans over 60 years are affected; with 33% of those between 40 and 49 already have hearing loss. They are concerned that even mild hearing loss compromises the ability to understand speech with background noise or several people talking. They are apprehensive that this can lead to social isolation, depression, and a poorer quality of life.

Curhan’s team followed 62261 women between 31 and 48 years between 1995 and 2009. Among those using ibuprofen 2 to 3 times per week, there was a 13% increase in hearing loss compared to non-users. Those using ibuprofen 4 to 5 times weekly had a 21% increase of hearing loss, and those with a frequency of 6 or more times weekly had a 24% increase. Among those using acetaminophen, there were increases of 11%, 21%, and 8% respectively. Those consuming aspirin showed no significant increases in hearing loss.

Curhan’s research team did an earlier study on men titled Analgesic Use and the Risk of Hearing Loss in Men published in The American Journal of Medicine. A group of 26917 men aged 40 to 74 were followed at two year intervals between 1986 and 2004. Regular users of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) under 50 years old were 61% more likely to de
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