Have you heard this? (Pun intended). There was a recent article in the American Journal of Medicine on analgesic use and risk of hearing loss in men. [picapp align=”right” wrap=”false” link=”term=man%27s+ear&iid=5066105″ src=”f/9/4/7/Young_man_with_bf0a.jpg?adImageId=11190073&imageId=5066105″ width=”337″ height=”506″ /] The full text of the article can be found here. The study concluded that regular use of aspirin, NSAIDs, or acetaminophen increases the risk of hearing loss in men, and the impact is larger on younger individuals. In the days after this study was published, I saw these findings quoted on dozens of websites, news programs, blogs and twitter. Haven’t had any patients ask about it yet.
It is difficult to know how to interpret this. People aren’t typically throwing back handfuls of analgesics for no good reason. Use of these medications always requires a careful risk/benefit analysis. Might it cause someone to pause and consider whether he/she really needs an oral analgesic? Sure, but many times the other options are limited. Interesting to note, but at this point not something that will change clinical practice.