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Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Sep 15;176(6):544-54. Epub 2012 Aug 29.

Analgesic use and the risk of hearing loss in women.

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Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Use of analgesics is common and is associated with increased risk of hearing loss in men; however, the relation has not been examined prospectively in women. The authors prospectively examined the relation between frequency of aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen use and risk of hearing loss among 62,261 women aged 31-48 years at baseline (1995) in Nurses' Health Study II. The outcome was self-reported hearing loss (n = 10,012), and the follow-up period was 1995-2009. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to adjust for potential confounders. During 764,247 person-years of follow-up, ibuprofen use and acetaminophen use were independently associated with increased risk of hearing loss, but aspirin use was not. For ibuprofen, the multivariate-adjusted relative risk of hearing loss was 1.13 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.06, 1.19) for use 2-3 days/week, 1.21 (95% CI: 1.11, 1.32) for use 4-5 days/week, and 1.24 (95% CI: 1.14, 1.35) for use ≥6 days/week (P-trend < 0.0001), compared with use less than once per week. For acetaminophen, the corresponding relative risks were 1.11 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.19), 1.21 (95% CI: 1.07, 1.37), and 1.08 (95% CI: 0.95, 1.22), respectively (P-trend = 0.0007). In this study, use of ibuprofen or acetaminophen (but not aspirin) 2 or more days per week was associated with an increased risk of hearing loss in women.

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