Medications that harm your hearing are remarkably common. From tinnitus drugs that stop your ears from ringing to drugs that may cause hearing loss, find out which of them has an impact on your ears.
Medicines Can Affect Your Ears
The US makes up almost half of the $500 billion dollar pharmaceutical industry. Do use over-the-counter medications regularly? Or are you taking ones that your doctor prescribes? All medications have risks, and while risks and side effects may be listed in the paperwork, no one ever thinks they’ll be impacted. So it’s worthwhile to point out that some medications raise the risk of having loss of hearing. But on the plus side, some medications, like tinnitus treatments, can in fact, help your hearing. But which ones will be an issue for your ears? And what do you do if a doctor prescribes drugs that lead to hearing loss? A little insight on the subject can really help.
1. Your Ears Can be Hurt by Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers
Most people are surprised to find out that something they take so casually could cause hearing loss. How regularly loss of hearing took place in individuals who were using many different painkillers was studied by researchers. There are several studies of both women and men that highlight this link. A collaborative study among Harvard, Brigham Young and Women’s Hospital found something alarming. Over-the-counter painkillers, if used on a regular basis, will injure hearing. Regular use is described as 2 or more times a week. You usually see this frequency in people with chronic pain. Temporary loss of hearing can result from using too much aspirin at once and over time can become permanent. NSAID drugs that contain ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen appear to be the most prevalent. But you might be shocked to find the one with the strongest link. The drug commonly known as acetaminophen was the culprit. For men under the age of 50 hearing loss danger nearly doubled if they were using this drug to deal with chronic pain. Just for the record, prescription painkillers are just as bad. Hearing loss may be caused by the following:
It’s not clear exactly what triggers this hearing loss. The nerves of the inner ear that detect sound could be destroyed by the reduction of blood flow possibly caused by these drugs. That’s why prolonged use of these medicines could result in irreversible 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 could increase the danger of hearing loss: Aminoglycoside. Human studies haven’t yet come up with solid data because they are in the early stages. But there have been a few individuals who seem to have developed hearing loss after using them. It’s convincing enough to see the results of the animal tests. There could be something to be worried about as indicated by the medical community. Mice that were fed these antibiotics, over a period of time, ultimately lost their hearing for good, every time. Aminoglycoside antibiotics are generally used to treat:
- Cystic fibrosis
- Bacterial meningitis
- Tuberculosis (TB)
- Some other respiratory diseases
More chronic illnesses are managed over a longer time period with these. Pneumonia and children’s ear infection were, until very recently, commonly treated with Neomycin. Concerns over side effects over the years have led doctors to prescribe different options. Why certain antibiotics play a role in hearing loss still needs more investigation. It seems that permanent damage could be caused when these drugs create inflammation of the inner ear.
3. How Your Hearing is Impacted by Quinine
If you’ve ever had a gin and tonic, then you’ve had quinine. Quinine is used to treat malaria and has also been used to help people suffering from restless leg syndrome while also being the key ingredient in tonic that gives the drink its bitter taste. While research that studies the correlation between hearing loss an quinine aren’t that well-known. There have been numerous cases observed where malaria patients treated with quinine have suffered from reversible hearing loss.
4. Chemo Drugs Might Injure Your Hearing
You know that there will be side effects when you go through chemo. Doctors are loading the body with toxins in an effort to kill cancer cells. Healthy cells and cancer are commonly indistinguishable by these toxins. These drugs are being analyzed:
- Carboplatin commonly known as Paraplatin
- Cisplatin commonly known as Platinol
- Bleomycin commonly known as Blenoxane
Unfortunately, chemo-induced loss of hearing is a required trade off when battling cancer. While you’re dealing with chemo, a hearing care professional could help you monitor your hearing. Or you may want to inform us what your personal situation is and discover if there are any recommendations we can make.
5. Hearing Loss And Loop Diuretics
While attempting to balance fluids in your body you might try using diuretics. As with any attempt to control something using medication, you can take it too far in one direction, which can dehydrate the body. This can lead to inflammation when salt vs water ratios become unbalanced. Although it’s usually temporary, this can cause hearing loss. But hearing loss may become irreversible if this imbalance is allowed to continue. The drugs listed in this article are ototoxic and if used with loop diuretics could worsen permanent hearing loss. If you’re taking the most well-known loop diuretic, Lasix, your doctor can advise you as to which medications can have side effects if combined with it.
What Can Do If You’re Using Medications That May Cause Loss of Hearing
Never stop using a drug that has been prescribed by a doctor without talking to your doctor first. Note all of the medications you take and then talk to your doctor. If your doctor has put you on one or more of these drugs that trigger loss of hearing, ask if there might be alternatives that could reduce risk. You can also reduce your need for medications with a few lifestyle changes. In some cases, small changes to your diet and exercise routine can give you a healthier life. These changes may also be able to minimize pain and water retention while fortifying your immune system. You should schedule an appointment to get your hearing examined as soon as possible specifically if you are using any ototoxic drugs. Hearing loss can advance very slowly, which makes it less detectable at first. But make no mistake: it can affect your health and happiness in ways you might not realize, and you will have more possibilities for treatment if you catch it early.