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Medication is ototoxic is when it has the potential to have a damaging effect on your hearing.
Each individual is susceptible to a hearing loss caused by ototoxicity depending on genetics, the duration and dose of the medication and status of the kidneys.
One of the most common ototoxic drugs is cisplatin. Certain chemotherapies consists of of cisplatin which has been found to damage hearing from days to years after administration. One of the side effects of chemotherapy is unfortunately a permanent hearing loss. As many as 50% of children receiving chemotherapy develops a hearing loss and 40-80% of adults. The concentration and doses of cisplatin is directly related to the odds of developing a hearing loss.
There are numerous medications that are used from treating infections to chronic medication that can cause a hearing loss. Here are some of the most common ototoxic medications are:
- Tuberculosis treatment with Kanamycin
- Loop diuretics to treat high blood pressure and heart failure
- Antibiotics such as gentamycin and streptomycin
- Antimalarial treatment such as Quinine
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen
These medications can cause a ringing in your ears, balance problems or hearing loss. The onset of these symptoms is usually sudden and affects more adults due to taking a higher dose of the medication and for longer durations. If you are concerned that you have a sudden change in hearing while taking medication or after taking medication, consult with the doctor that prescribed the medication as soon as possible and visit your audiologist. Individuals starting with a course of ototoxic treatment should monitor their hearing abilities throughout the process.
In some cases the use of certain medication cannot be stopped or altered, due to its potential life saving role, but monitoring of your hearing abilities and reacting appropriately might limit hearing loss related to ototoxicity of medication.
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