Popular Analgesics Linked to Hearing Loss in Women
Ibuprofen and acetaminophen get low marks (Sept. 12)
According to a September 12 announcement from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass., women who took ibuprofen or acetaminophen 2 or more days per week had an increased risk of hearing loss. The more often a woman took either of these medications, the greater was her risk. In addition, the link between these medicines and hearing loss tended to be greater in women younger than 50 years old, especially those who took ibuprofen 6 or 7 days per week.
There was no association between aspirin use and hearing loss.
The study will be published in the September 15 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.
The researchers prospectively examined the relationship between the frequency of aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen use and the risk of hearing loss among women in the Nurses' Health Study II. Data from 62,261 women aged 31 to 48 years at baseline were studied. The women were followed for 14 years (from 1995 to 2009). A total of 10,012 women (16%) self-reported hearing loss.
Compared with women who used ibuprofen less than once per week, those who used ibuprofen 2 or 3 days per week had a 13% increased risk of hearing loss, while women who used ibuprofen 4 or 5 days per week had a 21% increased risk. Among those who used ibuprofen 6 or 7 days per week, the increased risk was 24%.
Compared with women who used acetaminophen less than once per week, women who used acetaminophen 2 or 3 days per week had an 11% increased risk of hearing loss, while women taking the medicine 4 or 5 days per week had a 21% increased risk.
More than 50% of American adults suffer from high-frequency hearing loss by the time they reach the age of 60. One-third of women in their 50s and nearly two-thirds in their 60s have experienced hearing loss. According to the World Health Organization, adult-onset hearing loss is the sixth most common disease burden in high-income countries.
For more information, visit the Brigham & Women’s Hospital Web site.