Pharmacy Times, a trade magazine for pharmacists, has recently published a list of the common drugs that can cause damage to hearing, or attribute to the symptoms associated with hearing loss.
The most common example of a therapeutic substance that affects hearing is Aspirin. Doses greater than 2.5 grams a day can contribute to the symptoms of tinnitus and cause difficulty of hearing. The changes that aspirin causes, associated with the use of salicylates, are reversible within a few days of discontinuation of use. Other common drugs used to treat pain, fever and inflammation, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can have similar effects.
Patients who take aminoglycosides, one of the most commonly used classes of antibiotics worldwide, risk 20% – 60% chance of losing their hearing permanently, but research is underway to get rid of these adverse side effects. Researchers have successfully tested modified version of aminoglycosides on mice, without side effects of deafness or kidney damage.
Loop diuretics are known due to the damage they may cause to the kidneys. They also cause changes in the balance of fluids and salts in the inner ear, which leads to tissue swelling and issues with nerve signal transmission. These effects are traditionally temporary, but could be permanent if used with other ototoxic drugs.