Have you ever heard of pain medication leading to hearing loss? Probably not. But the same medication you may be taking for your headaches and muscle pain could be hurting your hearing. Ibuprofen is a common pain relief medication that has been found to boost incidents of hearing loss in people as they get older. To prevent this from happening to you, avoid certain medications in order to protect the health of your hearing. A brand new study out by the American Journal of Advanced Epidemiology has backed up what researchers already found in men: that ibuprofen use in women can lead to increased risk of hearing loss.

Conclusive Findings

Accounting for 60,000 women over 14 years, a new study took on a big job: to define whether pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can bring on hearing loss in females. Well, they do. The above-mentioned study found that a quarter of women who, more than twice a week, took ibuprofen and acetaminophen had subsequent hearing loss.


When you look at how ibuprofen encourages hearing loss, you’ll find that the use of these medications can reduce normal blood flow to the cochlear, situated in the inner ear. Acetaminophen, especially, has been proven to harm the ear structures that protect the very sensitive cochlea. Medication like ibuprofen has been found in previous studies to worsen symptoms of tinnitus, dizziness and vertigo. Any medicine, like analgesics, that hurts your kidneys can also hurt your ears, so stay away from those as well. While researchers have done studies on ibuprofen and hearing loss occurring in men, no such studies up till now had been done on females.

More Research

Additional studies must be done on the many factors that can contribute to hearing loss, from hormones and diet to alcohol consumption and prolonged noise exposure.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), recognizing the need for more evidence on hearing loss causes, is currently doing research on 150,000 women country wide.

What to Do

One thing you can do to help yourself is inspect all labels on cold and sinus medications at the store because they may contain ibuprofen. Your doctor is also a good place to start to find out your risk factors for hearing loss. One alternative is to ingest naproxen for pain instead of ibuprofen, which is not proven to affect hearing in an adverse way. No one’s suggesting you can’t take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen for things like muscle pain or headaches. However, when hearing loss is a concern, refrain from taking this medication to be on the safe side.

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