The following list contains drugs that can have a temporary or permanent
effect on hearing such as hearing loss or tinnitus. They were identified through the reading of Dr. Susan Kunkel from the Poison Center at the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy where she is a Toxicology Fellow.
. Please note that this is not an all-inclusive list of every ototoxic drug
nor an exhaustive list of all drugs in each category. The few
that are especially important are displayed in bold.
Some drugs have more than one use and/or may fit into more than one
category. Certain non-drug substances (e.g., various metals, chemicals and asphyxiant gases) as well as noise have been associated with hearing loss.
In some cases, the medications listed can cause hearing changes even at
regular doses. Nonetheless higher-than-recommended doses are never
a good idea and this practice would certainly increase risk of changes in
hearing. Users of these (or any other drugs) are advised to not exceed recommended dosages and to ask your doctor or pharmacist specifically
if there are any potential ototoxic effects associated with any new drug
or over-the-counter medication you are told to take.
More recent data is available at this location:
NOTE: Anyone reviewing this list of ototoxic drugs is strongly advised NOT to discontinue taking any prescribed medication without first contacting the prescribing physician.
Ototoxic Drugs by Category, with Examples
Aminoglycosides (amikacin, gentamicin, tobramycin…)
Antihelminthics (Praziquantel, thiabendazole) Chloramphenicol Chlorhexidine (for topical use)
Macrolides (azithromycin, erythromycin)
Tetracyclines (Minocycline, tetracycline)
Anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs, salicylates)
Aspirin (salicylic acid)
Methotrexate (also for RA)
Minoxidil (also for alopecia)
Substances with abuse potential
Hydroquinone (antipigmentation agent)
Local anesthetics (Bupivacaine, lidocaine, mepivacaine)
Metal chelators (Deferoxamine, penicillamine)