Treat Effects of Sensorineural Hearing Loss from Ototoxic Medications


A young woman clutches her ear in pain and fear struggling to hearDo you have ringing in your ears, problems with your equilibrium, or hearing loss? If you are experiencing any of these issues after taking ototoxic medications, such as aspirin, antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, or loop diuretics, you may have sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). Dr. Michael Weiss and the specialists at Chesapeake Ear Nose & Throat provide treatment for Sensorineural hearing loss from ototoxic medications at their Baltimore, MD, practice. SNHL is the most common type of hearing loss and occurs when the inner ear (cochlea) or nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain have been damaged. During your consultation, our specialists will use state-of-the-art audiology equipment to determine the extent of your hearing loss. Although SNHL is typically permanent, many times the side effects can be reversed when removing ototoxic medications from your regimen. If SNHL is permanent, we offer a range of auditory aids, such as cochlear implants, to enhance your hearing. If you are taking ototoxic medications and are experiencing loss of hearing, contact our offices to schedule an appointment.

Types of Ototoxic Medications

There are over 200 ototoxic over-the-counter and prescription medications and chemicals on the market that are known to cause hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and labyrinthitis (vertigo). These medications are used to treat heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, infection, and alleviate pain and inflammation, but can also cause temporary and permanent hearing loss:

  • Aspirin (in large doses)
  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen
  • Getamicin
  • Streptomycin
  • Neomycin
  • Furosemide (Lasix)
  • Bumetanide
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Carboplatin
  • Cisplatin
  • Bleomycin
Although SNHL is typically permanent, many times the side effects can be reversed when removing ototoxic medications from your regimen.

Ototoxic medications can cause serious side effects and affect your overall quality of life. Some of the side effects to be aware of while taking these medications, include:

  • Ringing in the ears
  • Buzzing in the ears
  • Difficulty hearing faint sounds
  • Inability to hear or understand conversations
  • Muffled or unclear sounds when TV or music is turned up
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance
  • Unsettled feeling when doing regular daily activities

Why Ototoxic Medications Are Used

SNHL side effects are likelier to increase when more than two ototoxic medications are taken at the same time. This is very common when a patient is diagnosed with cancer. For instance, a patient may be prescribed one form of ototoxic medication for chemotherapy, and another to prevent inflammation or infection.

For patients who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, it often seems their only solution involves taking ototoxic medications. Ask your primary doctor if there is alternative treatment available for your diagnosis.

When alternative treatment is not available, our specialists can record a baseline of your hearing and balance in order to monitor any changes. It is also vital that you notify your physician immediately of any changes in your hearing when they occur. The key to reversing side effects is catching issues early.

How to Treat SNHL

At Chesapeake Ear Nose & Throat, our goal is to help referring physicians maximize therapy options for their patients, and to assist in the treatment and management of otolaryngologic issues. During your initial consultation, one of our doctors will provide a comprehensive hearing evaluation using state-of-the-art audiology equipment. With this technology, we will immediately be able to determine your degree of hearing loss and the right treatment for you.

For some patients, hearing can be reversed when ototoxic medications are removed. But for high and long-term doses, damage may be permanent. In these cases, we can help you regain your hearing with auditory aids. Our wide range of auditory aids are discreet, and come in different sizes to meet your needs, enhance your hearing, and improve your overall quality of life.

Contact Us Today

At Chesapeake Ear Nose & Throat, we understand that loss of hearing can affect your relationships, self-confidence, and livelihood. If are taking ototoxic medications and experiencing any level of hearing loss, contact our office right away to schedule a consultation.