What are the ototoxic drugs?
While it sounds like toxicity you inflict on yourself, “ototoxicity” (not “auto-toxicity”) is a condition specific to the ears. The delicate internal structures of the ears are very small and prone to damage through a surprising number of modes.
Hearing, hearing loss, temporary damage to the ears or even tinnitus – these are pretty low on our everyday concerns and “to-do” lists. We might be too busy to notice but, rest assured, the ear has a way of making you listen.
If this sounds a little scary to you, take it with a grain of salt, but don’t take it lightly: in severe cases, ototoxicity can result in actual, physical damage to the inner ear structures. And this damage, once permanent, can result in many other complications going forward.
So what is ototoxicity? Is your hearing simply collateral damage on the way to more serious issues? Can it be prevented? And, how does it even begin?
Clearly, ototoxic drugs are far more common and prevalent than we realize. It’s best to not only become educated about what your doctor is prescribing you but also research options for other drugs and look for a second opinion.
Toxicity to the ear is an insidious state because it can go undetected for so long. Just like noise-induced hearing loss, the effect is gradual and progressive, making it a silent killer of the hearing sense, physical inner ear structure and, as you can see, our sense of movement and balance.
The effects are profound and, in some cases, can be irreversible and permanent.