Recently a neighbor informed me that he was experiencing loss of hearing and tinnitus. Initially, I assumed this was age related. He went on to explain however that this was a side effect of a medication he was recently prescribed.
Hearing loss due to medication use is medically described as ototoxicity. Medications that can cause hearing loss or tinnitus can include prescriptions such as: antibiotics, chemotherapy treatments, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s), diuretics, cardiac medications, and psychopharmacologic drugs (Xanax, Wellbutin.) A complete list of such medications can be found here.
People using medications that are considered otoxic (another words have the potential to harm the ear) may not suffer any hearing loss or tinnitus issues at all simply because peoples bodies react differently to the same medication.
Why may hearing loss due to medication use occur in some people and not others?
* Hearing loss and tinnitus may occur in people that already have existing issues with their auditory nerve damage.
* Some people who experience hearing loss may find that the symptoms reverse once the medication is discontinued. It may simply be the way their body reacted to the medication.
* Hearing loss may be due to taking one or more medications that are considered ototoxic putting them at higher risk.
* Loss of hearing may occur if the recommended dosage is exceeded.
* Magnesium deficiency.
* Prexisting perforation of the eardrum can cause increase the risk of hearing loss due to medication.
* Sufferers of chronic kidney disease may have greater susceptibility to hearing loss with certain medications.
* Family history.
Some medications used to treat cancer have been associated with hearing loss. In these cases, many who are forewarned of this side effects by their medical provider, feel that the advantage of beating cancer and surviving is worth the risk of loss of hearing due to the medication. However, others feel frustrated that they now have permanent hearing loss or tinnitus, due to feeling ‘blue’ and using a psychopharmacologic drugs for a very short time and are now left with an adverse permanent effect.
What can you do to avoid loss of hearing due to medication usage?
First, make sure that you inform your doctor of any pre-existing ear or auditory issues such as a perforation of the eardrum, etc. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist if you are using several medications about the specific combination of medications you have. It may be possible that if two or more drugs have a high risk of loss of hearing with medication use that your medical provider may change one of the prescriptions to a less ototoxic medication. Take only the prescribed quantity of the medication and no more. Contact your medical provider immediately if you notice any hearing loss due to medication use. Do not minimize your hearing loss as ‘aging’ if it begins after you have started taking a new medication. It’s possible that early detection and changes in prescription use can reverse the issue or keep it from getting worse. If it cannot be avoided that you must take multiple medication whose use may lead to hearing loss, your doctor may require monitoring of your blood levels. Make sure you comply. Advise your medical provider if others in your family have suffered hearing loss with the use of certain medications.
In our personal injury practice, we have seen cases where medications prescribed to a client can cause hearing loss or tinnitus. This has included medications such as NSAID’s that were prescribed as a result of injuries after a traumatic accident. If a medication is taken because of a traffic accident and the medication causes hearing loss or problems, the driver of the at fault vehicle will be responsible for compensation.
The Law Offices of Edward A. Smith (also known a AutoAccident.com) is a leading personal injury law firm in California. We specialize in cases involved traumatic injury due to accidents involving auto, big rigs, motorcycles, boats, ATV’s and personal water crafts. Choosing a law firm to represent your rights should not be taken lightly. We encourage people to make sure the law firm the choose is the right fit for them. Please learn more about our practice by visiting our website and by learning about what our past clients have said via review sites such as Google, Yelp, Facebook and Avvo. If you would like to talk to someone regarding your potential claim, please call us at 916.921.6400.
Photo Attribution: By Jason Rogers [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons