A study conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston followed 62,000 women over a period of 14 years. Women who took ibuprofen or acetaminophen two or more days per week had an increased risk of hearing loss. In fact, the risk of hearing loss increased the more often a woman took either of the medications. The researchers also found a tendency for hearing loss to be greater in women younger than 50 years old – particularly for the women who took ibuprofen six or seven days a week. Study author Sharon G. Curhan, a Harvard Medical School instructor of medicine said, “possible mechanisms might be that NSAIDS may reduce blood flow to the cochlea – the hearing organ – and impair its function. Acetaminophen may deplete factors that protect the cochlea from damage.”
According to the study, there was no link between aspirin use and hearing loss.
Women in the study who took acetaminophen 2 to 3 days per week had an 11% percent increased risk for hearing loss compared with women who took it less than once per week. Women who took acetaminophen 4 to 5 days per week had a 21% increased risk for hearing loss.
Those women who took ibuprofen 2 to 3 days per week had a 13% increased risk for hearing loss versus those women who took it less than one time per week. Women who took the medication 4 to 5 times per week showed a 21% increased risk, and those who took ibuprofen 6 or 7 days per week increased their risk to 24%.
“If individuals find a need to take these types of medications regularly, they should consult with their health care professional to discuss the risks and benefits and to explore other possible alternatives,” said Curhan….. Harvard Gazette 9/16/12