The usefulness of our five senses cannot be questioned, and even if one of them is compromised, we are unable to function properly. Among these, hearing is truly a magical sense that connects us with the world around us in a unique way. While the deterioration of hearing with age is quite common, there are other factors that can lead to hearing loss such as certain medications. Here is the list of medicines that can cause hearing loss.
Although fevers have been treated by salicylic acid since 400 BC, it was not until the mid-1800s that acetylsalicylic acid was developed. While the medicines made with salicylic acid were already available at the time, acetylsalicylic acid became extremely popular because of its effectiveness. It was developed by Charles Frédéric Gerhardt, a French chemist in 1853; however, it was scientists at Bayer, a German pharmaceutical company, who found efficient ways to synthesize it. As for its mechanism, it works by inhibiting the platelets from binding together, which causes inflammation. Thinning of blood is one of the most common side effects of acetylsalicylic acid, but it can also cause reversible hearing loss after prolonged usage.
Brand Name: Aspirin
Bendroflumethiazide was approved for medical use in 1960. It belongs to a class of medicines known as loop diuretics, and their primary function is to balance fluid in the body. This particular loop diuretic works by blocking the reabsorption of sodium in the body, and it is used in used to manage excess fluid caused by mild heart failure and hypertension. Bendroflumethiazide is known to cause hearing problems because it interferes with the balance of fluids in the inner ear, resulting in swelling of the tissue. Fortunately, these effects are only temporary.
Brand Name: Corzide
Chloroquine is used in the treatment of malaria, and sometimes for amebiasis. Moreover, it is also used in anti-malaria programs in parts of the world where malaria is still a big concern. It was developed by Hans Andersag, an Austrian-Hungarian scientist, in 1934 as a synthetic medicine for German soldiers in World War I. Interestingly, it was considered toxic for humans at the time and was ignored by the authorities for a decade. Presently, chloroquine is enlisted as an essential medicine by the World Health Organization. It stops malaria by disrupting the crucial processes required by parasites to thrive. As for its adverse effects, it includes frequent hearing loss, muscle damage, blurry vision, seizures, and reduced blood cells.
Brand Name: Aralen
Cisplatin is notorious for causing damage to the cochlea, a hollow spiral-shaped bone located in the inner ear. Damage to the cochlea can cause frequent pains with the risk of permanent hearing loss. According to the statistics, approximately 60% of the adults that administer cisplatin end up losing their hearing ability. It is a chemotherapy medicine, and it is used to treat various kinds of cancer. It inhibits the division of cancer cells which ultimately leads to cell death. Cisplatin was approved for medicinal in 1978.
Brand Name: Platinol
This drug was developed in 1980 as an attempt by the Japanese pharmaceutical company, Taisho Pharmaceutical, to create an antibiotic that did not cause acid reflux as a side effect. Presently, it comes under the World Health Organization’s essential medicines, and it is used in the treatment of various conditions caused by bacterial infections such as strep throat, pneumonia, and skin infections. It inhibits the growth of bacteria, in turn providing relief from the mentioned conditions. Clarithromycin has ototoxicity, i.e., it is known to cause hearing loss. Additionally, it can induce diarrhea and allergic reactions as side effects.
Brand Name: Biaxin
Furosemide is also a loop diuretic, and it is prescribed to people that have excess build-up fluid. It is administered both orally and intravenously. Interestingly, it also has veterinary uses, as it is injected into racehorses to prevent hemorrhage. People using furosemide have been reported to experience sudden hearing loss because of fluid loss. It is reversible; however, it can be permanent in some cases. It is also enlisted as an essential medicine by the World Health Organization.
Brand Name: Lasix
Gentamicin is among the few medicines that were not synthesized in a laboratory. Instead, it was developed naturally using Micromonospora purpura, a type of bacteria, in 1963. Gentamicin is associated with permanent hearing loss, as it can damage inner ear hair cells. In addition to hearing loss, it can also cause kidney disease, low blood count, and nausea. It is only available in injectable solution or topical ointment; however, it is mostly administered intravenously. It kills bacteria by stopping their ability to make protein.
Brand Name: Theramycin
Since it is an opiate, it works by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain, in turn blocking the pain signals received. It is mostly used as an analgesic; however, it is used as a cough suppressant. As a painkiller, it may be used with other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It was developed by two German chemists, Carl Mannich and Helene Löwenheim, in 1920. Unsurprisingly, it being an opioid, it is considered a controlled substance in many countries. Long-term usage of hydrocodone can cause low blood pressure, seizures, depression, and hearing problems.
Brand Name: Vicodin
Methadone is also an opiate; however, it is a synthetic opioid agonist. It also binds to opioid receptors in the brain, inhibiting the transmission of pain signals, resulting in relief from pain. Unsurprisingly, it is used for chronic pain, but it is also prescribed to people dependent on opioids like heroin. IG Farben, a German pharmaceutical company, first developed methadone in 1937. When it comes to side effects, it is known to cause sedation, heat intolerance, insomnia, and temporary hearing loss. If the medicine is used for a long period, the hearing loss can be permanent.
Brand Name: Dolophine
Another medicine that is listed as an essential medicine by the World Health Organization is tobramycin. It is an antibiotic that is derived from Streptomyces tenebrarius, a type of bacteria. It was approved for medical use in 1974. Tobramycin is mostly used in the treatment of bacterial infections, particularly eye infections. Hearing loss is associated with tobramycin, especially in the elderly. Additionally, it can cause itching, headache, and confusion.
Brand Name: Nebcin
It belongs to the loop diuretic class of medicine, and similar to other medicines in this category, it works by inhibiting the reabsorption of sodium, resulting in the riddance of build-up fluid in the body because of conditions like high blood pressure, kidney disease, and heart failure. It was approved for medical use in 1993. Although it is not common to experience hearing issues with this medicine, it can cause ringing of the ears and reversible hearing loss. Other adverse effects include diarrhea, cough, and dizziness.
Brand Name: Demadex