Ototoxicity | Ear Poisoning - Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which doctor should I consult for ototoxicity?

An ENT specialist and audiologist can help in identifying and managing the effects of ototoxicity.

2. Why do doctors prescribe ototoxic medications despite knowing their harmful effects?

Ototoxic medications are prescribed when they are necessary and their benefits outweigh the risk of possible ototoxicity. It should be noted that they do not cause ear damage in all those who take them

3. What precautions should I take before starting medications that are known to be ototoxic?

Consult an audiologist to record your baseline hearing and balance abilities. This information and further monitoring during the treatment regime can help the doctor in taking decisions about continuing the medicine. If the drug cannot be stopped or changed, measures need to be taken to manage the effects of any resultant hearing loss.

4. What is occupational ototoxicity?

Occupational ototoxicity refers to the exposure to ototoxic chemicals at the work place. Some of the chemicals used in various industries that are ototoxic are manganese, heavy metals like mercury and lead, and chemicals like styrene, xylene and trichloroethylene.

5. Can exposure to noise increase the chances of ototoxicity in people exposed to industrial ototoxic chemicals?

Yes. The risk factor of hearing loss due to noise exposure is around 4.1 percent and that of exposure to solvent mixture is about 5 percent. The exposure to both noise and the solvent toluene increases the risk factor to 10 to 27.5 percent.

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