Pain Drugs Linked to Hearing Loss in Men

Three of the most com­mon­ly used drugs in the US are

  • Aspirin
  • Ibupro­fen and oth­er non­s­teroidal anti-inflam­ma­to­ry drugs (NSAIDs), and
  • Aceta­minophen (the active ingre­di­ent of Tylenol).

A lot of men (and women too) pop these pills like can­dy.

It’s not unusu­al for a man in his late for­ties or fifties – par­tic­u­lar­ly if he’s been an ath­lete – to have a col­lec­tion of knee, shoul­der, back, or neck pains.  And to numb them with reg­u­lar dos­es of these seem­ing­ly innocu­ous chem­i­cals.

Most peo­ple tak­ing these drugs assume the risks are neg­li­gi­ble.  But they’re not.

A study pub­lished in the March issue of the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Med­i­cine points to the pos­si­bil­i­ty of an increased risk of hear­ing loss if you take these drugs – even if you only take them only twice per week.  What’s also fright­en­ing about the research is that the hear­ing loss they found wasn’t only in old­er men.  In fact, these pain-killer drugs seemed to cre­ate more of a rel­a­tive risk for hear­ing loss in men under 60.

There are plen­ty of alter­na­tives to these dan­ger­ous drugs.

Of course, the best alter­na­tive is not to place the type of strain on your body parts to cause chron­ic pain in the first place.

But let’s say it’s too late for that.  You still have oth­er options you can try.  For instance, mas­sage or chi­ro­prac­tic.  Or com­mit to a nutri­tion sup­ple­ment reg­i­men that includes omega-3 fat­ty acids and pro­te­olyt­ic enzymes. (These are the enzymes that digest pro­teins if you take them along with meals.  But if you take them in between meals, they can have an anti-inflam­ma­to­ry and pain-reliev­ing effect.)

Don’t set­tle for a lev­el of health based on the expec­ta­tions that have been blast­ed into your skull by end­less­ly repeat­ed TV com­mer­cials or free­bie note pads and pro­mo­tion­al pens at your doctor’s office.  You deserve bet­ter.


Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

List of drugs known to affect hear­ing

My broth­er-in-law keeps a sup­ply in his golf bag


About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty five years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods. His website,, provides more information about his approach. Please contact him at or at 212-400-9663.
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