Medicines That Might Cause Hearing Loss

Medicines that might 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. More than 200 medications are known to be ototoxic or poisonous to the ears.

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

Some common 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. Patients who take aminoglycosides, the most commonly used class of antibiotics worldwide, risk a 20% to 60% chance of losing their hearing permanently.
  • Loop diuretics used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure, such as furosemide (Lasix) or bumetanide.  They can cause changes in the balance of fluids and salts of the inner ear, which can result in tissue swelling and issues with transmission of nerve signals.
  • Chemotherapy drugs 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, be alert to any new hearing problems and report hearing changes to your doctor.

If you feel that medicines you are taking might be affecting your hearing, call Schmidt’s Optical and Hearing™  today at 772-286-4327 and schedule your FREE comprehensive hearing screening with our Board Certified Hearing Aid Specialist.

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