Harvard Health Letter

Are painkillers also killing your hearing?

Frequent and long-term use of pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol), may be a risk factor for hearing loss. Researchers say the pain relievers may damage the cochlea, the snail-shaped hearing mechanism in the inner ear. Ibuprofen can reduce blood flow to the cochlea, which could result in cellular damage and cell death. Acetaminophen may deplete the antioxidant glutathione, which protects the cochlea from damage. It’s important to take these medications mindfully and to limit their use as much as possible.
To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »