Erectile Dysfunction and Hearing Loss: What's the Connection?
The medical community is handing out drugs for erectile dysfunction (ED) like Chiclets. The demand is fuelled by a steady media blitz showing loving couples (usually in their 50s) holding hands on the beach or watching the sun set while soaking in separate, outdoor bathtubs. The pharma industry is selling spark, renewed interest in your partner and, yes, romance. And why not, its a billion dollar business as more baby boomers move into the Viagra target market.
Now the Food and Drug Administration has come along and thrown cold water on the party. Those bathtub soakers may be losing their hearing while restoring their love life. Now, if thats not a lifestyle choice, I dont know what is.
How Bad Is The Problem?
How bad do you want a normal, loving sex life with your partner? Heres the breakdown:
In October, 07, the FDA reports that 29 men have reported sudden hearing loss since 1996 all taking Viagra, Cialis or Levitra, the most popular drugs for treating ED a problem among the boomer bubble who still want to stay active in all realms of life.
An FDA spokesperson explained that the hearing loss warning had been on the Viagra label list of potential, harmful side effects since it hit the market. However, because Cialis and Levitra use different formulations the warning did not appear.
Now lets get one thing clear here. Billions of these ED wonder tabs are sold to very satisfied, middle-agers a huge population. And out of that population, 29 cases of sudden hearing loss are reported. So, the odds are definitely in your favor in the romance department.
But this brings up a more serious problem worth a little attention, and thats the unintentional (often unknown) potential side effect of hearing loss when medications are prescribed. Since those who experience hearing loss make up such a small part of the total population, Phase III testing rarely points out such rare side effects.
In some cases, knowledgeable, caring physicians may prescribe medications that have the potential to cause hearing problems clearly the case with ED drugs according to the FDA.
Go Deaf or Make Whoopee? Tough Choice, eh?
Fortunately, you dont have to make it. If you currently use Viagra, Levitra or Cialis and you havent experienced a sudden loss of hearing, keep on goin. However, if you do experience sudden hearing loss (were not talking the gradual hearing loss that comes with aging) stop taking the drug and call your doctor. Its unlikely, given the stats, erectile dysfunction meds are the cause of your hearing loss but thats definitely something you want to check out ASAP.
Read the Label
A good practice for anything you ingest. Whats in this stuff?
However, in the case of Viagra, Cialis and Levitra all will be required to warn that this class of drugs has been associated with at least 29 cases of sudden hearing loss. Further, the FDA also indicated reports of ringing in the ears, dizziness and vertigo among men taking these extremely popular drugs.
Its important to note that these life-style enhancement medications have not been proven to be the cause of the hearing loss. However the FDA alert to the medical community said the change in labeling was due to the strong relationship between the use of these drugs and sudden hearing loss in these cases.
Talk to Your Doctor and Pharmacist
There are many prescription medications that can affect your hearing and/or cause ringing in your ears. It is up to you to be your own medical care advocate. If you are being treated by multiple physicians and multiple medications, it is important to discuss all of your medications with your doctor and to receive medications from the same pharmacy to ensure drug interactions are prevented.
Bottom line: if you experience a sudden change in hearing sensitivity and/or ringing in the ears, dizziness or vertigo discuss these symptoms immediately with your doctor to ensure they are not being caused by a medication you are taking.
If you are currently taking ED medications or any other prescriptions and do not have hearing loss symptoms, it is recommended to have your hearing tested now. A hearing test performed while you feel your hearing is still healthy, serves as an excellent baseline for in the future.