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Pain relief pills can impair your hearing

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If you frequently use pain pills for chronic pain, you may be getting something you didn’t ask for…

As if you needed yet another reason to ditch the pharmaceuticals and try natural pain relief, here’s just one more adverse “side effect” to add to the growing list…

Research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital shows that some pain relief medications increase your risk of hearing loss.

According to this study, women who took ibuprofen (contained in medications like Advil) or acetaminophen (in products like Tylenol–the painkiller that turns you into a mindless zombie) for two or more days per week had an increased risk of hearing loss.

And the more often a woman took either of these medications, the higher her risk for hearing loss climbed. Also, the link between these medicines and hearing loss tended to be greater in women younger than 50 years old, especially for those who took ibuprofen six or more days per week.

“Possible mechanisms might be that (these types of drugs) may reduce blood flow to the cochlea — the hearing organ — and impair its function,” says researcher Sharon G. Curhan, M.D. “Acetaminophen may deplete factors that protect the cochlea from damage. If individuals find a need to take these types of medications regularly, they should consult with their health care professional to discuss the risks and benefits and to explore other possible alternatives.”

We can only hope that the reduction in blood flow they discovered isn’t affecting your brain too. A strange rash of opiod-induced amnesia revealed a loss of blood flow to the hippocampus–the area of the brain vital for memory.

These instances and more, are exactly why blind trust in both over-the-counter and prescribed medicines isn’t a good idea. So unless your life depends on medication, think twice. And even then, explore your options. In the meantime, take these steps to protect your hearing…

Use your feet to keep from going deaf

An analysis of data from more than 68,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II, who were followed from 1989 to 2009, shows that doing more walking, keeping your weight down and staying slender may lower your chances of going deaf.

In this group of women, those women who were the  most active enjoyed a 17 percent lower risk of hearing loss. Walking, the most common form of physical activity reported among these women, was linked to lower risk.

Walking two hours per week or more was associated with a 15 percent lower risk of hearing loss, compared with walking less than one hour per week.

Support your hearing with nutrients

In lab experiments, scientists at the University of Michigan, the University of Florida and Washington University have found that the antioxidants beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E as well as the mineral magnesium may help the ears defend themselves against damage.

In these studies, the antioxidant nutrients protected a structure in the inner ear implicated in age-related hearing loss. The scientists believe that oxidative damage is a strong contributor to hearing deterioration as we age.

Get plenty of folate

Taking more folate may save your hearing. A study of more than 50,000 men found that those over the age of 60 who have a larger intake of foods and supplements high in folate have a 20 percent lower risk of developing hearing loss.

To lower your risk, eat more foods high in folate like spinach, asparagus, lettuce, turnip greens, beans, peas and sunflower seeds. Baker’s yeast, liver and liver products also contain high amounts of folate.

Editor’s Note: When conventional pain medicines and therapies just won’t work, you can now turn to the complete guide to conquering just about any type of pain naturally. Dr. Mark Wiley’s book, Conquering the Pain, is the culmination of his lifelong search to relieve his own chronic pain — and now it’s available to you.

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