Do you take multiple medications or are you considering medical treatments which require them?

It is remarkable to see most drug ads on television spend so much time explaining side effects, as compared to potential quality of life advantages. Evidently, that’s what protective consumer regulations require. 

To be well-informed healthcare consumers, how many read and understand the fine print of our Rx informational pamphlets? While pharmaceutical therapies can help manage acute or chronic conditions, as with many things in life, it is important to evaluate potential benefits and risks of care plan pathways. While each persons’ choices are their own, being aware of potential rewards and risks is crucial. Like shades of gray, evaluative nuances are often involved.


From pain relievers such as aspirin to NSAIDS such as ibuprofen, from antibiotics to diuretics and chemotherapy drugs, exposure to potentially ototoxic medications can damage inner ear sensory hair cells, often permanently. It is important to learn more about potentially ototoxic medications and if you are taking them, to get a baseline hearing evaluation for future comparison.

To see a comprehensive list of potentially ototoxic medications, click here: Ototoxicity Awareness and Education

For those receiving chemotherapy treatments, earlier referrals to hearing care professionals will facilitate faster identification of ototoxic hearing loss, compassionate counseling and discussion of amplification’s potential advantages. Closer collaboration of your healthcare team may reduce ototoxic risks and improve quality of life outcomes.

Especially with social distancing and daily challenges associated with taking multiple medications or caring for loved ones who do, optimal communication ability is vital. For example, consider the importance of “at the counter” conversations with your dispensing pharmacist. From experience, we recognize those not hearing and understanding effectively may suffer anxiety in stressful ways that are not mentally or physically healthy.

Beyond talking with your primary care doctor, oncologist or pharmacist, please see us and encourage your loved ones to get periodic evaluations which accurately assess type and degree of hearing loss. These personal consultations will enable us to get key baseline information and provide useful information on possible side effects of treatment-related medications. You should know and we will share.

Ototoxicity is defined as the manner and degree in which certain drugs can cause ringing in the ears (Tinnitus), dizziness or hearing loss, typically at high frequencies. Importantly, research indicates exposure to Ototoxic drugs can damage inner sensory hair cells necessary for hearing and balance, often on a permanent basis.

5 W’s & How


may be affected by Ototoxicity?

Those receiving chemotherapeutic treatment or taking any one of over 100 classes of medications including but not limited to:

  • Chemo drugs such as Cisplatin and Carboplatin
  • NSAIDS such as Ibuprofen and Naproxen
  • Antibiotics such as Neomycin and Streptomycin
  • Pain relievers such as Aspirin
  • Diuretics such as Bumex and Edecrin

For your easy reference, please see this detailed list.


patient awareness is vital?

That, in addition to children, there is greater risk of Ototoxicity for those with high blood pressure, renal failure, dehydration or the elderly.


should informative conversations take place?

During clinical visits with your interdisciplinary care team which may include primary care doctor, oncologist, hearing care professional, nurses and pharmacist.


should preventative action steps be taken?

The sooner the better, inclusive of a baseline hearing examination which will help assess potential progression of Ototoxic impact with careful monitoring.


is an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure?

Early identification of Ototoxic impact may indicate a need to adjust chemotherapeutic or medicinal regimens to reflect harmful effects to hearing and communication function.

It is essential to consider how degraded hearing abilities may negatively impact communication with healthcare providers, mentally healthy social interactions and quality of life.


can you make well-informed decisions?

By better understanding the risks, benefits and alternatives with personalized plans of care, patients and their families may be more empowered with relevant knowledge to effectively discuss with respective medical specialists.

In healthcare settings, whole person care is imperative to improving quality of life and individual choices influence outcomes. We encourage you to seek every opportunity to learn more and live better.

Beyond talking with your primary care doctor, oncologist or pharmacist, please see us and encourage your loved ones to get periodic evaluations which accurately assess type and degree of hearing loss. These personal consultations will provide key baseline information and useful information on possible side effects of treatment-related medications. 

You should be knowledgeable, as what gets accurately measured can be better managed.

2020 HealthScapes
The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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