Is Your Senior Taking an Ototoxic Medication?

All medications have side effects, but some of those effects are more concerning than others.

Some medications are considered ototoxic, which means that they can damage your aging adult’s hearing. While the majority of the damage may be temporary, occasionally this kind of damage is permanent. The more that you know about which kinds of medications tend to be ototoxic the better you can spot problems for your elderly family member.

Elder Care in McLean VA: Ototoxic Medication

Elder Care in McLean VA: Ototoxic Medication


Some Antibiotics

A class of antibiotics called aminoglycosides can cause problems with your senior’s hearing. This can be more of a problem if your elderly family member already has some hearing loss or if she has other issues, such as damaged kidneys. If your elderly family member’s doctor prescribes these types of antibiotics, be aware of what symptoms indicate trouble.



Aspirin is commonly prescribed for a variety of pain issues and fever reduction. It might also be prescribed if your elderly family member has a risk of stroke or heart attack. Unfortunately, for some people and in higher doses, aspirin may damage hearing. Ask your aging family member’s doctor what to watch for while she’s taking aspirin.



NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are prescribed in some of the same situations as aspirin is prescribed. They can also help to reduce inflammation and swelling related to injuries or health conditions. If your elderly family member has significant health problems with her gastrointestinal tract, NSAIDs might not be the right choice for her.



Diuretics are medications that help the body to release excess fluid. They are extremely common medications for people who have high blood pressure or heart disease so that fluid doesn’t build up around the heart. Some diuretics, however, can cause hearing damage in your elderly family member. Be aware of that fact and talk to your elderly family member’s doctor about whether a different type of medication can help instead.


Cancer Medications

Some medications that help treat cancer can cause damage to your aging family member’s hearing. Keep in mind that although this is a troubling side effect, the medications used to battle any cancer that your aging family member might be facing could still be the best treatment for her. You’ll want to carefully weigh all of the pros and cons of any medication before you determine that it’s not going to be the right one for your elderly family member.

Staying on the lookout for symptoms of hearing loss, vertigo, and other problems can help your elderly family member avoid permanent hearing loss. Home care providers can help you to track symptoms that you might not have thought to consider.


Are you or a loved-one considering Elder Care in McLean, VA?  Please call the caring staff at Medical Professionals On Call today. Contact: 703-273-8818