Did you know that hearing loss can also be caused by certain drugs? According to
the American Speech-Language- Hearing Association (ASHA), these drugs are
known as ototoxins; and surprisingly more than 200 variants of these are available
in the market today. Anyone can avail these drugs by showing the prescription as
many of these drugs are used to cure severe infections like cancer, and heart
How ototoxins drugs cause hearing loss?
These drugs damage the sensory cells in the inner ear, which leads to hearing loss.
In some cases, the hearing loss is temporary and can be reversed when the drugs
are discontinued. However, in other cases, individual suffers from permanent
ASHA adds, in some cases doctors are left with no alternate choices other than
recommending ototoxins as in some cases these are the only drugs available for
protecting a person from a severe disease or infection.
The damage caused by drug-induced hearing loss may be gradual and so, you
might not be able to notice it initially. It can start from ringing in the ears,
followed by hearing loss and loss of balance.
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As per the study of ASHA, this drug-induced hearing loss can adversely affect the
social life of people. This hearing loss might cut them off from the events they
previously participated in.
Drugs that cause permanent hearing loss are few aminoglycoside antibiotics like
gentamicin and cancer chemotherapy medications cisplatin and carboplatin, adds
ASHA. Medications that cause temporary hearing loss are salicylate pain relievers
such as aspirin which is used for pain relief and to cure heart illnesses, quinine to
serve malaria and loop diuretics for kidney and heart illnesses.
Moreover, if the patient is exposed to loud noise while taking certain medicines,
then this can further deteriorate the hearing condition of the patient.
ASHA says, as there is no way to prevent hearing loss from ototoxic drugs,
patients should refer to their ear doctors to supervise such medications before
and after treatment, and their consequence on hearing so that the physician can
stop or change the medication, if required and possible, before your hearing is
If drugs can’t be stopped or altered, refer a hearing health specialist for ways to
minimize hearing loss.