Illustration of pills for ototoxicity and hearing health

The Silent Hearing Danger

Can Aspirin Hurt Your Hearing?

What Is Ototoxicity?

The definition of ototoxicity, in its simplest form, is ear poisoning (“oto” = ear, “toxicity” = poisoning). A substance is considered ototoxic if it is known to cause hearing loss, balance disorders, or tinnitus after being ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. The drug, chemical, or other agent damages the inner ear or vestibulo-cochlear nerve, which sends balance and hearing information to the brain from the inner ear.  

What Causes Ototoxicity?

Medications Today there are more than 200 known ototoxic medications on the market. These include medicines used to treat serious infections, cancer, and heart disease. Some common medications that can cause temporary ototoxicity are aspirin, quinine (to treat malaria), and loop diuretics (to treat specific hearing and kidney conditions).

Pregnant women may be at risk of exposing their unborn child to ototoxic substances, such as Accutane, Dilantin, alcohol, …

Read More
Hand Dryers: For Kids, Beware the Noise

Hand Dryers: For Kids, Beware the Noise

It’s no secret that hand dryers installed in public bathrooms can seem rather loud, but we were blown away by a young scientist’s findings when she put the volume levels of 44 automated machines to the test in restrooms across Alberta, Canada.

Turns out some of those volumes can do a number on kids’ ears — which are more susceptible to noise-induced hearing problems — by reaching sound levels well beyond the danger zone of 85 decibels. Several of the various brands measured above 100 decibels when in actual use for hand-drying, and one was even greater than 120.

The study, by then-9-year-old Nora Keegan, has captured international attention, with coverage by the New York Times, CNN, Canada’s CBC, and other media outlets. Now 13, Keegan is likely one of the youngest researchers to have her work published in the journal Pediatrics & Child Health. …

Read More