The Common Medications Known to Cause Hearing Loss

Because the ear is very sensitive to changes in overall health, smokers and those with high blood pressure are more likely to develop hearing loss due to the impact on their cardiovascular health, while those who clench or grind their teeth at night can develop a high-pitched ringing in their ears. Similarly, certain medications that alter the body can disrupt the hearing process and lead to temporary or permanent hearing damage.

While it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep your ears functioning properly, you should also be aware of which medications and treatments have been found to cause hearing loss in some patients. These medications are considered ototoxic (damaging to your ears), and there are currently more than 200 of them on the market according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. If you are on medication and have noticed symptoms of hearing loss, tinnitus, or vertigo, consult a hearing care professional immediately to prevent further damage and explore other options.

The most common medications known to cause hearing loss are:

  • NSAIDs such as naproxen and ibuprofen, particularly in adult men
  • Large quantities of aspirin (usually 8 to 12 pills a day)
  • Quinine, which is found in muscle relaxants for night cramps and some malaria medications
  • Loop diuretics intended for high blood pressure and heart problems
  • Certain antibiotics used to treat kidney disease and similar conditions, usually the group known as aminoglycosides
  • Certain antidepressants, including the SSRIs Celexa, Luvox, Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft, as well as the tricyclics Clomipramine and Amitriptyline
  • Some methods of chemotherapy, such as cisplatin, carboplatin or bleomycin

With so many potential risks for your hearing, it is important to keep a record of how your hearing changes when beginning a new medication. Have a baseline test of your hearing performed before and after starting treatment of known ototoxic drugs to determine whether hearing loss has occurred. This will make it easy to decide how to proceed without having to sacrifice your hearing health, though you should plan to have regular hearing tests performed as you monitor your progress. Should your doctor determine that a hearing loss is present, being fitted with a smart hearing aid is the first step toward restoring your hearing.