Ototoxicity Induced Hearing Loss: Which Drugs Are Dangerous?

Drugs that cause hearing loss

Ototoxicity is the property of being toxic to the ear, and it can refer to the hearing damage that some medication can have. Drugs that cause hearing loss are called ototoxic drugs.

Some of the most important things to keep in mind about ototoxic medications are:

  • Many of them only become harmful in large doses.
  • Combining different ototoxic drugs can increase their negative effect on hearing.
  • They generally damage the inner ear.
  • Sometimes it’s not possible to avoid or replace drugs that cause hearing loss.

So which ones should you look out for?

1. Painkillers

In extremely large doses, aspirin can lead to hearing problems. This usually means around 1,500 milligrams a day, or 8-12 pills daily. So you should definitely avoid taking that amount of aspirin.

Acetaminophen and NSAIDs such as ibuprofen can be ototoxic too, even in lower doses.

If you have to deal with long-term pain treatment, you should seek out expert advice instead of just relying on over-the-counter pain medication. After all, your doctors will know how to avoid ototoxicity or other long-term effects.

2. Loop Diuretics

These diuretics can help treat high blood pressure or heart problems. They disrupt the way the body processes liquids and they can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss.

3. Anti-cancer Medication

Cisplatin is a drug used to treat cancer. It is extremely effective and it saves lives. However, it is also one of the best-known drugs that cause hearing loss.

Anti-cancer medication is effective because it stops cancer’s characteristic intense cell proliferation. But its cytotoxicity (damage to cells ) also has a negative impact in normal cells. This makes anti-cancer drugs particularly strong candidates for ototoxicity

The search for solutions to mitigate the ototoxicity of cancer drugs is still in progress.