by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A lady wrote:
Someone just gave me a copy of your book, Ototoxic Drugs Exposed, and now I know why I lost my high frequency hearing while I was in my 40s. When you are very verbal and love music and talking, this is a pretty traumatic thing.
Starting in my 30s, I took Prozac [Fluoxetine] for 10 years, plus I get migraines and have used Imitrex [Sumatriptan] regularly since it came out. Finally, subsequent to a year or two off of Prozac, I took Wellbutrin [Bupropion] on and off for two years.
It ticks me off that, about 6 years ago, when I went to an ENT because I thought allergies were “stuffing” my hearing, they tested my hearing and determined that I had significant high-frequency hearing loss. When I asked why, because I thought I always took good care of my ears and didn’t listen to loud music, etc., they just answered “sometimes we just don’t know why these things happen.” They didn’t give me a list of products and ask, “Have you taken any of these in the past? Are you on any of these drugs now?”
Shouldn’t an ENT be on the lookout for that kind of thing? In the past six years, I could have been “not” taking Wellbutrin and maybe avoiding Imitrex a little more, and preserving more of my hearing.
Thanks again for your invaluable book. Talk about a “light bulb” moment!
Yes, doctors should be on the lookout for drug damage in their patients. Unfortunately, many don’t seem to be doing it.
I think there are two reasons doctors don’t tell you about the ototoxic side effects of drugs. First, they don’t believe that drugs are the culprit—they buy into all the pharmaceutical hype that drugs are safe when that is just not true. The FDA is on record as saying that “every drug has adverse side effects” and some of those side effects damage ears.
Second, since doctors are the ones that prescribe the drugs in the first place, they don’t want to admit that the very drugs they are prescribing are hurting their patients. By doing so, they’d obviously open themselves up to lawsuits.
Thus, it seems to be the rare doctor that knows much about ototoxic drugs and advises his patients accordingly.
Although many ENTs seem to be downplaying the ototoxic effects of drugs, there is some good news out there. More and more audiologists are regularly asking their new patients about the drugs they are taking, then consult “Ototoxic Drugs Exposed” to see whether their ear problems could be explained by the adverse side effects of the drugs they are taking.
In any case, I am a strong advocate of taking control of your own health and not relying on your doctor. This means learning about the harmful side effects of drugs and how they can affect your ears.
You can learn about such drugs by reading my book “Ototoxic Drugs Exposed“. This book contains information on the ototoxicity of 877 drugs known to damage ears (and information on 148 ototoxic chemicals too).