Ears at Risk: Medications and Hearing Loss

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When taking medications, it’s crucial to be aware of potential side effects that may arise. While most medications are generally safe and effective, it is important to consider the severity of these side effects.

It’s worth noting that side effects are relatively common among medicines, but what matters most is their impact on our health. Consulting with your doctor or healthcare professional is always the best course of action to gain a better understanding of the potential risks and benefits associated with a particular medication.

In this article, we will explore a group of medications known to have potential hearing problems as side effects. Surprisingly, there are more than 600 drugs that have been linked to hearing loss. Understanding these risks can empower you to make informed decisions and seek appropriate medical advice when necessary.

Aminoglycoside Antibiotics: Gentamicin, Amikacin, and Tobramycin

Aminoglycoside antibiotics are powerful medications commonly used to treat severe bacterial infections. However, these drugs can have detrimental effects on hearing and balance.

Research shows that over 50 percent of individuals who receive multiple rounds of intravenous aminoglycosides may experience hearing loss. Even when administered at recommended dosages, these medications have the potential to cause rapid, profound, and irreversible hearing impairment.

This is due to the damaging effect they have on the delicate sensory cells within the inner ear, which are responsible for converting sound waves into electrical signals and facilitating our ability to hear.

TED Medication: Tepezza

Tepezza (teprotumumab) is a medication used for treating thyroid eye disease, a condition that causes swelling around the eyes. While it can be effective, there have been reports of hearing problems like hearing loss and tinnitus as potential side effects.

According to The National Library of Medicine, About 85% of people who took Tepezza experienced side effects, and around 10% of them reported hearing loss, which improved after stopping the medication.

Unfortunately, this situation has resulted in serious consequences. Since 2022, people who suffered hearing loss from the medicine have filed the Tepezza hearing loss lawsuit against Horizon, the company that makes the drug.

These lawsuits claim that Horizon did not adequately warn patients and doctors about the risks of hearing damage associated with Tepezza. TorHoerman Law notes that as of now, there are 37 ongoing cases across eight districts related to the Tepezza Lawsuit.

NSAIDs: Ibuprofen, Naproxen, and Aspirin

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used to manage pain, inflammation, and fever. Since these painkillers are easily accessible without a prescription, many people take them regularly, assuming they are harmless.

According to a 2022 survey, about 33% of Americans take store-bought pain medication every day. While NSAIDs are generally considered safe, certain types have been linked to temporary hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

Research by Sharon Curhan from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School revealed that using over-the-counter pain relievers like NSAIDs frequently, especially more than two days per week, can contribute to both hearing loss and tinnitus.

In a study involving over 62,000 women, Curhan found that regular use of these medications, even at typical doses, was associated with a 24% higher risk of developing hearing loss. Similar findings were observed in men using acetaminophen, NSAIDs, and aspirin two or more times per week, which also increased the risk of hearing loss.

However, it’s essential to remember that these side effects are usually reversible when the medication is discontinued.

Loop Diuretics: Furosemide

Loop diuretics, including furosemide, are commonly prescribed to manage conditions such as edema and hypertension. However, it is important to be aware that these medications can potentially affect hearing. They have the potential to disrupt the delicate fluid balance within the inner ear, which can lead to hearing loss.

The risk of hearing loss is particularly prominent when high doses or prolonged use of furosemide are involved. In a study published in the National Library of Medicine, researchers discovered that reversible hearing loss was observed in 50% of adult patients with uremia who received a single intravenous dose of 1000 mg of furosemide.

Chemotherapy Drugs: Cisplatin and Carboplatin

Chemotherapy drugs are essential in the treatment of various cancer types. However, specific agents, like cisplatin and carboplatin, can have ototoxic effects, damaging the ears. These medications can harm the sensory cells in the inner ear, potentially resulting in hearing loss, tinnitus, or balance issues.

According to a study published in the ASCO journal, these agents can lead to hearing loss in up to 60% of individuals receiving treatment, significantly impacting their hearing abilities.


While the medications mentioned in this article can have potential hearing problems as side effects, it’s important to remember that these side effects are relatively rare occurrences. The benefits of these medications often outweigh the risks for most patients. However, it is crucial to be aware of these potential side effects and promptly report any changes in hearing or balance to your healthcare professional.

If you are prescribed any of these medications or have concerns about potential side effects, consult with your healthcare provider. They can provide personalized advice based on your medical history and help monitor and manage any risks associated with these medications.

Remember, informed decision-making and open communication with your healthcare team are vital for your overall well-being.

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