AARP Names Drugs that May Cause of Hearing Loss

AARP, an AgeWise Colorado Provider, advises people, especially older adults, to think about certain drugs as a possible cause of hearing loss. The advocacy organization says more than 600 medicines have been linked to hearing loss, ringing in the ears, or balance problems. The list of so-called “ototoxic” drugs includes both over-the-counter and prescription meds. Those taking multiple drugs may be especially vulnerable to effects on hearing. Key drugs AARP says to watch for are the following: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil and Motrin. Aminoglycoside antibiotics — drug names often ending in “micin” or “mycin,” such as gentamicin, streptomycin, neomycin, and others. Loop diuretics used to treat high blood pressure and fluid retention due to heart failure, liver disease, or kidney disease. Common ones are Lasix (furosemide), Bumex (bumetanide), and Demadex (torsemide). Erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis (tadalafil), Levitra (vardenafil), and Stendra (avanafil). Platinum-based chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin and carboplatin. Long-term hormone therapy drugs used to treat menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. Quinine, chloroquine, and hydroxychloroquine, often used to treat malaria or autoimmune diseases such as lupus. Antidepressants, including the class known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). Common ones include Escitalopram (Lexapro), Fluoxetine (Prozac), Fluvoxamine (Luvox), Paroxetine (Paxil), Sertraline (Zoloft), Vilazodone (Viibryd) and Zimelidine (Zelmid). Of course, in many cases these drugs are indispensable for a patient and cannot be avoided. Also in some cases, hearing problems caused by a medication are reversible and will go away when you stop taking it. One recommendation is to get a baseline hearing test and balance assessment before starting such drugs, which can help you and your doctor identify any hearing-related side effects early if they occur.

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