Your hearing can be harmed by a surprisingly common number of medicines. From tinnitus medications that stop your ears from ringing to drugs that could lead to hearing loss, here’s some information on drugs that impact your hearing for better or for worse.
Medications Can Affect Your Hearing
The US makes up nearly half of the $500 billion dollar pharmaceutical industry. Are you getting medications over-the-counter? Or maybe your doctor has prescribed you with some type of medication. All medications have risks, and while risks and side effects may be listed in the paperwork, people usually don’t think they’ll be affected. That’s why emphasizing that some medications might increase your chance of hearing loss is so significant. Certain medications can, on the plus side, help your hearing, such as tinnitus treatment. But how do you know which drugs are safe and which are the medications will be hazardous? And what to do if a doctor prescribes medications that lead to hearing loss? A little insight on the subject can really help.
1. Over-the-Counter Painkillers That Affect Your Hearing
Most people are shocked to hear that medicine they take so casually might cause loss of hearing. Experts examined the kind of pain relievers, frequency and time frame as well as hearing loss frequency. This connection is backed by a number of studies of both men and women. A collaborative study among Harvard, Brigham Young and Women’s Hospital found something shocking. Ongoing, daily use of over-the-counter pain relievers impairs hearing. 2 or more times per week is defined as regular use. Individuals who deal with chronic pain usually take these kinds of medicines at least this frequently. Using too much aspirin at once can cause temporary loss of hearing, which might become permanent over time. Naproxen, ibuprofen and acetaminophen are the biggest offenders. But you may be surprised to find the one with the strongest link. The culprit was acetaminophen. For men under the age of 50 hearing loss risk almost doubled if they were managing chronic pain with this drug. Just for the record, prescription painkillers aren’t any better. Here are a few prescription drugs that could cause hearing loss:
The precise cause of the hearing loss is not clear. These drugs may reduce blood flow to your sensitive inner ear, which as time passes would kill nerves that pick up sound. That’s why sustained use of these drugs may lead to permanent hearing loss.
2. Some Antibiotics Are Ototoxic
If your not allergic, most antibiotics will be relatively safe if used as directed. But certain forms of antibiotic might raise the danger of hearing loss: Aminoglycoside. Research is in the initial phases so we haven’t had solid data on human studies yet. But there certainly seem to be a few individuals who have noticed loss of hearing after taking these drugs. Results from animal-testing are persuading enough. The medical community thinks there could be something going on here. Every time mice are fed these antibiotics, they ultimately get hearing loss. Aminoglycoside antibiotics are generally used to treat:
- Cystic fibrosis
- Bacterial meningitis
- Certain other respiratory diseases
- Tuberculosis (TB)
More persistent illnesses are treated over a longer period of time with these. Until recently, Neomycin was actually a very common antibiotic used to manage children’s ear infections and pneumonia. Concerns over side effects over the years have encouraged doctors to prescribe alternatives. More data is necessary to figure out why some antibiotics might contribute to hearing loss. It seems that lasting harm might be caused when these medications create inflammation of the inner ear.
3. How Quinine Affects Your Hearing
Have you ever had a gin and tonic? If so, you’ve had quinine. Quinine is the key ingredient that creates the bitterness in tonic and is sometimes used to treat people with restless leg syndrome or malaria. While research that investigates the correlation between hearing loss an quinine aren’t that well-known. There have been several cases noted where malaria patients treated with quinine have suffered from reversible loss of hearing.
4. Chemo Drugs Might Harm Your Hearing
When you go through chemo, you understand that there will be side-effects. Attempting to kill cancer cells, doctors are loading the body with toxins. These toxins can’t often tell the difference between healthy cells and cancer. Some of the drugs that are being looked at are:
- Bleomycin commonly known as Blenoxane
- Cisplatin commonly known as Platinol
- Carboplatin commonly known as Paraplatin
Unfortunately, chemo-induced loss of hearing is a crucial trade off when dealing with cancer. You might want to speak to your hearing care specialist about tracking your hearing while you’re going through cancer treatments. Or you could let us know what your personal scenario is and find out if there are any suggestions we can make.
5. Hearing Loss And Loop Diuretics
You may be using diuretics to help regulate the balance of fluids in your body. As with any attempt to control something with medication, you can go too far in one direction, which can dehydrate the body. This can lead to inflammation when salt vs water ratios become unbalanced. This can cause loss of hearing, which is typically temporary. But loss of hearing could become permanent if you let this imbalance continue. Using loop diuretics with ototoxic drugs (the drugs listed in this article) could make the lasting damage much worse. Lasix is the most well known loop diuretic, so if you have been prescribed this drug, you should consult your doctor regarding any side effects that might happen in combination with other medications you’re taking.
If You Are Using Medications That Cause Hearing Loss What Should You do?
Never discontinue taking a medication that has been prescribed by a doctor without speaking with your doctor first. Note all of the drugs you take and then consult your doctor. You can ask your doctor if there may be an alternative to any drugs that trigger loss of hearing. You can also make lifestyle changes to cut down on your need for medications. You can get on a healthier path, in some situations, with small changes to your diet and a little exercise. Your immune system can be reinforced while pain and water retention can also be reduced with these changes. You should make an appointment to have your hearing tested as soon as possible particularly if you are taking any ototoxic drugs. Loss of hearing can develop quite slowly, which makes it less detectable at first. But make no mistake: it can impact your happiness and health in ways you might not realize, and catching it early gives you more choices for treatment.