People often don’t realize how much their everyday actions can influence their ability to hear. From the foods you eat to the social activities you participate in, virtually all of your behaviors can lead to early hearing loss—including the medications you take for other conditions.
Medications that are known to cause damage or dysfunction in the ear are called ototoxic, and can have temporary or sometimes even permanent effects. These can include both prescription and over-the-counter medications, and side effects may continue after the patient has stopped taking the drugs.
4 Common Drugs That May Cause Hearing Problems
There are two different ways medications can affect a person’s ear structures. If the drug impacts the hearing nerve, a patient may have trouble understanding or perceiving sound. If the medication affects the vestibular center of the brain, a patient may suffer balance disorders such as vertigo, dizziness, and nausea. In some cases, both hearing and balance may be affected.
Medications that can cause inner ear disturbances include:
- Aspirin. Drugs that contain aspirin (salicylate), especially in high doses, have been known to cause hearing loss as well as tinnitus in users.
- Antibiotics. While strong antibiotics are necessary during and after surgeries to fight infection, they can also cause hearing loss. The most commonly-used drugs include gentamicin, tobramycin, vancomycin, and neomycin.
- Cytotoxic drugs. Some chemotherapy drugs have been linked to permanent hearing problems, including cisplatin and others that contain platinum.
- Diuretics. Although some water pills may be useful in treating tinnitus symptoms, some stronger diuretics can affect hearing ability, including Lasix (furosemide) and Demadex (torsemide).
It is important to discuss all drug side effects with your doctor, especially if you are considering discontinuing any medications. Risks to your hearing depend on many factors, such as the strength of the dose and how long you will be taking the medication. If you are concerned about hearing changes, we can help you determine the cause and find the most effective solution. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your free hearing test at our office nearest you!