Your ears can be harmed by a remarkably common number of medicines. From popular pain medicine to tinnitus medicine, here’s the low-down on medications that impact your hearing for better or for worse.
Your Hearing Can be Impacted by Drugs
The US accounts for nearly half of the $500 billion dollar pharmaceutical market. Do you regularly use over-the-counter medication? Or perhaps your doctor has prescribed you with some type of medication. It commonly will happen that people ignore the warnings that come with nearly all medications because they think they won’t be affected. That’s why emphasizing that some medications could raise your chance of having loss of hearing is so crucial. A few medications can, on the plus side, assist your hearing, such as tinnitus treatment. But which ones will be an issue for your hearing? But if you get prescribed with a drug that is recognized to lead to loss of hearing, what can you do? 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 medicine they take so casually might cause hearing loss. How regularly loss of hearing happened in people who were taking many different kinds of painkillers was studied by researchers. This link is backed by a number of studies of both men and women. A collaborative study among Harvard, Brigham Young and Women’s Hospital revealed something shocking. Over-the-counter painkillers, if used daily, will harm hearing. 2 or more times a week is described as regular use. You typically see this regularity in people with chronic pain. Using too much aspirin at once can result in temporary loss of hearing, which could become permanent over time. NSAID drugs that contain ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen appear to be the most common. But you may be surprised to find the one with the strongest link. The culprit was acetaminophen. For men under 50 hearing loss risk nearly doubled if they were managing chronic pain with this drug. Just for the record, prescription painkillers are just as bad. Hearing loss may be caused by the following:
The specific cause of the loss of hearing is unclear. The nerves in the inner ear that pick up sound could be killed by the decrease of blood flow possibly caused by these drugs. That’s why sustained use of these drugs may result in permanent hearing loss.
2. Some Antibiotics Are Ototoxic
If your not allergic, most antibiotics should be reasonably safe if used as directed. But the kind of antibiotic known as Aminoglycoside could raise hearing loss. Human studies haven’t yet come up with solid data because they are in their initial stages. But there absolutely seem to be a few people who have noticed hearing loss after taking these drugs. Results from animal-testing are convincing enough. There might be something to be worried about as indicated by the medical community. Mice that took these antibiotics, over a period of time, ultimately lost their hearing for good, every single time. The following illnesses are commonly treated with Aminoglycoside antibiotics:
- Some other respiratory diseases
- Tuberculosis (TB)
- Bacterial meningitis
- Cystic fibrosis
In contrast to the majority of antibiotics, they’re usually used over a long term period of time to treat very persistent infections. Until not too long ago, Neomycin was actually a very common antibiotic used to treat children’s ear infections and pneumonia. Alternatives are now being prescribed by doctors because of concerns about side effects. Why certain antibiotics worsen hearing loss still needs more investigation. It seems that they may cause inflammation in the inner ear that results in long-term harm.
3. How Your Hearing is Affected by Quinine
If you’ve ever had a gin and tonic, then you’ve had quinine. Quinine is the key ingredient that gives tonic it’s bitter taste and is sometimes used to treat people with restless leg syndrome or malaria. While research that studies the correlation between quinine use and hearing loss aren’t that widespread. Reversible hearing loss has been observed in certain malaria patients.
4. Your Hearing Can be Harmed by Chemo Drugs
You know that there will be side effects when you go through chemo. Attempting to kill cancer cells, doctors are loading the body with toxins. These toxins can’t usually tell the difference between normal cells and cancer. These medications are being looked at:
- Carboplatin commonly known as Paraplatin
- Cisplatin commonly known as Platinol
- Bleomycin commonly known as Blenoxane
But if you had to pick between chemo induced hearing loss and cancer, for the majority of people, the choice would be obvious. You might need to speak to your hearing care professional about tracking your hearing while you’re going through cancer treatments. Or you might want to find out if there are any recommendations we can make that can help in your individual situation.
5. Loop Diuretics and Hearing Loss
You may be taking diuretics to help control fluid balance in your body. But the body can ultimately be dehydrated by taking it too far in one direction when attempting to manage the problem with medication. This can lead to swelling when salt vs water ratios become unbalanced. This can cause loss of hearing, which is normally temporary. But if the imbalance is allowed to go on or keeps happening, hearing loss could be permanent. The drugs listed in this article are ototoxic and if taken with loop diuretics could worsen permanent loss of hearing. If you’re using the most common loop diuretic, Lasix, your doctor can advise you as to which medications can have side effects if combined with it.
If You Are Using Drugs That Cause Loss of Hearing What Should You do?
You need to speak with your doctor before you stop using any medications they have prescribed. Note all of the medications you use and then consult your doctor. You can ask your doctor if there might be an alternative to any medications that cause loss of hearing. You can also make lifestyle changes to lessen your need for medications. In certain cases, slight changes to your diet and exercise plan can give you a healthier life. These changes might also be able to reduce pain and water retention while reinforcing your immune system. You should make an appointment to have your hearing evaluated as soon as possible specifically if you are taking any ototoxic drugs. It can be challenging to detect loss of hearing at first because it advances very slowly. But make no mistake: you might not realize the ways it can impact your health and happiness, and you will have more options for treatment if you recognize it early.