Chemotherapy Medications that may Damage HearingNovember 15, 2018
Chemotherapy is already quite a struggle for those who are dealing with cancer. Recent research has also found that certain medications used during chemotherapy tend to cause hearing loss as a side effect. Although these medications may have helped effectively deal with cancer, it may lead to damaged hearing.
Medications that are toxic for your ears are known as ototoxic medications. These medications are known to result in damage of delicate portions of your inner ear, primarily the cochlea or your auditory nerve. Damage to these vital areas can lead to loss of hearing.
The hearing loss caused by ototoxic medications can occur at any point in your lifetime. Medications for chemotherapy may also lead to tinnitus, which is the ringing sensation in your ears in the absence of any such stimuli. The Center for Hearing and Deafness found that certain chemotherapy medications tend to damage the delicate hair follicles within your inner ear. These hair cells are responsible for transferring sound waves into electrical impulses that are then sent to your brain.
The reason that certain chemotherapy medications lead to hearing loss is due to the fact that these medications contain platinum, which is a rather heavy metal. This metal attacks the myelin sheath which can help eradicate cancer cells, but it also damages the delicate nerve endings that are placed deep within the inner ear.
The medications known to damage hearing are Carboplatin, Cisplatin as well as Oxaliplatin. These medications are well-known and have been used to treat cancer for the past 40 years. However, 1 in 5 patients that were treated with any of the above listed medications report signs of hearing loss.
Hearing loss can lead to other health problems apart from simply impaired hearing. Hearing loss has been linked to increased chances of developing dementia, depression, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, and even diabetes. With so many problems it is important not to take this side effect lightly.
If you or someone you know has been treated with the above mentioned drugs for cancer, it is important to get your hearing tested to check for any damage. Early detection can help protect the rest of your hearing and prevent any additional damage to your ears.
If you are currently using any of the medications mentioned above, talk to your doctor about lowering the dosage or perhaps about changing the medication altogether. Always consult a medical professional before making any changes to these important medications. Do not attempt to self-medicate or self-diagnose.
If you have been treated with the ototoxic medications, make sure you get your hearing tested on an annual basis. This can help detect any early signs of hearing loss so that you can take timely steps to intervene. Surviving cancer can be challenging, but so can surviving with hearing loss. Take steps to take good care of your hearing health and talk to your doctor about any ototoxic medications that you may be taking.