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Utah: 435-688-8991 Nevada: 702-896-0031

​Your Medications May Be Impacting Your Hearing Loss

Your Medications May Be Impacting Your Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be difficult to deal with, even when it is part of the natural progression in someone’s life. However, your hearing loss may not be entirely due to nature. Instead, your medication may be interfering with your hearing.

Medications Which Cause Hearing Loss

Medicines which can cause hearing loss are called ototoxic. Broken down it means:

  • Oto – Hearing
  • Toxic – Damaging/toxic

There are over 200 medications which have been identified as ototoxic. These medicines are a mix of over-the-counter and prescription medications. Many of these medications are commonly used to treat heart disease, infections, cancer and for pain relief.

Some of the most common medications which can cause hearing loss are:

  • Aspirin – If you take between 8-12 aspirins per day, you can damage your hearing.
  • Antibiotics – The group of antibiotics called aminoglycosides (generally used combined with other antibiotics) are used to treat infections. These antibiotics are highly toxic and have to be administered intravenously by medical professionals.
  • Loop diuretics – Using medications like Lasix can cause fluid build up in the ear and damage hearing.
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) – Drugs like ibuprofen fall into this category. Do not take more than the recommended dosage.
  • Chemotherapy drugs – Certain chemotherapy drugs like carboplatin have been identified as ototoxic.

However, they do not all cause the same amount of damage. Drugs like aspirin, loop diuretics, and NSAIDs can cause temporary hearing problems but can be solved by lowering the dosage.

Chemotherapy drugs and aminoglycosides antibiotics can cause permanent hearing loss.

Identify And Monitor Medicine-Induced Hearing Loss

As there are over 200 medications which are ototoxic, it is impossible for the average user to know exactly which medications can be a potential problem. There is also no way to protect against ototoxic effects at this time. When you need to take the more damaging medication, it is usually because your life would be in danger without the ototoxic medications.

Speak to your doctor before you start a course of medication and ask if they are ototoxic. Depending on the course and length of your treatment, you may not suffer any side effects.

If you do need to take ototoxic medication, visit your audiologist to establish a baseline for your hearing and balance. Your body will do its best to adapt to your loss of hearing and balance, so it is important for you to have something to compare against.

If your hearing does become damaged, your audiologists will be in a better position to help you if they are aware of the medications you are taking.

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