Ototoxic Effects

Last Updated: June 15, 2018

Definition - What does Ototoxic Effects mean?

Ototoxic effects are effects that impact a person's hearing. The term ototoxic literally means having a toxic effect on the ear or its nerves. Ototoxic effects can damage a person's hearing or impair his or her balance. Ototoxity is caused by exposure to damaging drugs or chemicals. Some medications are known to have an ototoxic effect. The symptoms of this damage include hearing loss, ringing of the ears, and dizziness or loss of balance.

WorkplaceTesting explains Ototoxic Effects

A person who is suffering ototoxic effects has had chemical damage to his or her inner ear. This part of the ear not only controls hearing but also balance. Some prescription drugs that have an oxotoxic effect do so only temporarily. If the person stops taking the medication, their hearing and balance will be restored. However, other oxotoxic drug exposures may lead to permanent damage. A limited number of antibiotics, cancer treatment drugs, anti-malaria medications and diuretics may cause oxotoxicity. Some individuals may experience oxotoxic effects if they overdose on aspirin. Exposure to environmental chemicals such as tin, lead, mercury and others, may have oxotoxic effects.

Because oxotoxicity is not a common condition, it is sometimes difficult to detect. In the workplace setting, employees who experience balance problems or hearing loss should be evaluated to determine whether they are taking any suspect medications. The workplace environment should also be carefully monitored to prevent exposure to the chemicals that can cause these oxotoxic effects.

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