There are many drug ads nowadays with on-going lists of adverse side effects. Were you aware that some medicinal drugs have the potential to lead to balance problems or deafness? These categories of drugs and medications are referred to as ototoxic. Ototoxic medications are drugs, whether doctor-prescribed or over-the-counter (OTC), that are hazardous to the ears. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, there are more than two hundred medications that can induce temporary or permanent hearing loss or even balance disorders. The five categories of medications in this article are a few of the more prevalent products that you may recognize or possibly be using.
- Salicylates – Commonplace pain relievers such as aspirin or aspirin-containing medications contain Salicylates. A number of people may use salicylates on a daily basis to manage heart conditions. Salicylates have the ability to induce tinnitus (a ringing sound in the ears) and impair hearing, though these symptoms will abate when you stop taking the medication.
- Loop Diuretics – Heart failure, high blood pressure, and certain kidney disorders are often treated with Loop diuretics. Loop diuretics have been shown to cause hearing loss and tinnitus, which is oftentimes only detected during a hearing test.
- NSAIDs – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can lead to temporary tinnitus and hearing loss.Naproxen and ibuprofen are 2 well-known NSAIDs.
- Aminoglycoside Antibiotics – Streptomycin, gentamicin, neomycin, amikacin and kanamycin are just some of the aminoglycoside antibiotics prescribed in the treatment of bacterial infections. The free radicals produced by these drugs can lead to damage to the inner ear.Babies have been known to be born deaf as a result of the birth mother taking kanamycin or streptomycin while pregnant.
- Chemotherapy Drugs – Permanent hearing damage has been observed in many cancer treatment drugs, such as bleomycin, cisplatin, cyclophosphamide and carboplatin. Like many discussed here, the life-saving benefits oftentimes overshadow any risk, but report any changes in hearing to your oncologist.
If you currently use any of these ototoxic medications, never quit taking your drugs before contacting your physician. To protect your hearing health, talk to your doctor for alternatives to known ototoxic medications; if they cannot be avoided, make sure you are taking the appropriate dose precisely as directed.