Do Over The Counter Medications Cause Hearing Loss?

   

Medicines That Cause Hearing Loss

Medicines that damage the ear and cause hearing loss are known as ototoxic medicines. They are a common cause of hearing loss, especially in older adults who have to take medicine on a regular basis. In most cases, hearing loss occurs because the medicine damages the cochlea in the inner ear.

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Hearing loss caused by an ototoxic medicine tends to develop quickly. The first symptoms usually are ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and vertigo. Hearing usually returns to normal after you stop taking the medicine. But some medicines can cause permanent damage to the inner ear. This results in permanent hearing loss even if you stop taking the medicine.

Commonly used medicines that may cause hearing loss include:

• Aspirin, when large doses (8 to 12 pills a day) are taken.
• Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen.

Certain antibiotics, especially aminoglycosides (such as gentamicin, streptomycin, and neomycin). Hearing-related side effects from these antibiotics are most common in people who have kidney disease or who already have ear or hearing problems.

Loop diuretics used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure, such as furosemide (Lasix) or bumetanide.

   

Medicines used to treat cancer, including cyclophosphamide, cisplatin, and bleomycin.

Hearing-related side effects are more likely when you take two or more of these medicines at the same time. If you are using more than one of these medicines, be alert to any new hearing problems. And report hearing loss or hearing changes to your doctor.

What to Do If You Suspect a New Drug Is Causing Tinnitus

When you are aware of which drugs can damage your ears via ototoxicity, you are in a position to help protect them. As a drug accumulates in your body, the risk for ototoxicity increases. If you experience tinnitus after you begin taking a new medication, contact your prescribing physician. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting with your healthcare provider. The risks of stopping a medication may far exceed any potential benefit.

In addition, if you already have tinnitus, let your physician know before he or she prescribes a new medication, as effective alternatives to ototoxic drugs may be available. If you are worried about tinnitus as a side effect of your medications, again, please consult your subscribing physician or pharmacist. In addition, remember that just because your doctor prescribes one of these medications, that doesn’t mean you will lose your sense of hearing or develop tinnitus; experiences with ototoxic medications vary from person to person (source).

If you have taken any drugs from our list of ototoxic medications and are now suffering from tinnitus, contact EAR WORKS AUDIOLOGY today to explore your treatment options. Our audiologists specialize in tinnitus treatment, and we have provided life-changing relief to thousands of patients through FDA-approved tinnitus treatments.

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