Medical Treatment for Hearing Loss

Medicine

Hearing loss that can be treated with medicine include:

  • Antibiotics to treat hearing loss caused by ear infection
  • Oral steroids to ease viral inflammation of the acoustic nerve

Earwax Removal

Removing earwax can bring back hearing to people who have a buildup of it. A softener is put into the ear to loosen the wax. It may be mineral oil, baby oil, or glycerin. Warm water is put into the ear with a syringe. Tilting the head will release the water. This process may need to be done a few times before the wax comes out. The doctor can also remove wax with a special tool or suction device.

Treating Other Health Problems

Hearing loss can be improved by treating health problems that cause it. Some examples are tumors and heart disease.

Stopping or Changing Medicines

Some hearing loss is caused by or made worse by some medicines. The medicine may be stopped or changed to one that does not affect hearing. Common medicines that affect hearing are:

  • Streptomycin
  • Gentamicin
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Diuretics
  • Steroids
  • Heart medicine
  • Anesthetics
  • Quinine
  • Aspirin-containing drugs

References:

Hearing loss and older adults. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) website. Available at: https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing-loss-older-adults. Updated July 17, 2018. Accessed October 25, 2019.
Stachler RJ, Chandrasekhar SS, et al; American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF). Clinical practice guideline: sudden hearing loss. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012 Mar;146(3 Suppl):S1-35.
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/sudden-sensorineural-hearing-loss. Updated November 26, 2018. Accessed October 25, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 10/25/2019

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