Common Medications Known to Trigger Tinnitus

Tinnitus, characterized by ringing or buzzing sounds in the ears, can be a troubling condition exacerbated by certain medications. Understanding which drugs may contribute to tinnitus is crucial for managing its symptoms and seeking alternative treatments when necessary. Here, we delve into some of the most common medications linked to tinnitus, offering insights into their effects and considerations for those experiencing this auditory issue.

1. Pain Management Medications

Pain relievers like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and aspirin are widely used but can potentially lead to tinnitus, especially with prolonged or high-dose usage. NSAIDs such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), and naproxen have been associated with tinnitus, particularly when taken in doses higher than 325 milligrams.

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While not everyone experiences tinnitus from these medications, individuals with autoimmune diseases or poor renal function may be at higher risk. Monitoring for any changes in hearing or tinnitus symptoms is advisable when using these drugs.

2. Aminoglycoside Antibiotics

Used to treat serious bacterial infections, aminoglycoside antibiotics like gentamicin are known for their ototoxicity, potentially causing both hearing loss and tinnitus. These medications can affect the auditory and vestibular systems, leading to symptoms that may persist even after treatment cessation. Monitoring for any signs of hearing loss or changes in balance is crucial for patients prescribed these antibiotics, as adjustments in dosage or alternative treatments may be necessary to mitigate these effects.

3. Chemotherapeutic Medications

Certain chemotherapy drugs, particularly platinum-based ones like carboplatin and cisplatin, are notorious for their ototoxic effects, including tinnitus. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy should undergo regular hearing assessments to monitor any changes in auditory function. Balancing the need for effective cancer treatment with potential side effects on hearing health is essential, and oncologists may recommend adjustments in medication or dosage based on individual responses.

4. Loop Diuretics

Prescribed for conditions like edema and hypertension, loop diuretics such as furosemide (Lasix) and torsemide (Demadex) can occasionally cause temporary tinnitus. Typically, this side effect resolves upon discontinuation of the medication. However, individuals taking high doses or using these diuretics long-term, especially alongside other ototoxic drugs, may experience prolonged tinnitus symptoms. Patients should discuss any concerns with their healthcare providers to explore alternative medications or dosages that minimize these risks.

5. Antimalarial Medications

Quinine and its derivatives, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, used in the treatment of malaria and autoimmune diseases like lupus, have been associated with tinnitus. While tinnitus from these medications is often temporary and reversible upon cessation, prolonged use or high dosages can increase the risk of persistent symptoms. Patients should communicate any changes in their tinnitus or hearing to their healthcare providers for evaluation and potential adjustments in treatment.

Preventive Measures for Tinnitus

Avoiding High-Risk Medications: When possible, opt for medications that have a lower likelihood of causing tinnitus. Consult with your healthcare provider to explore alternative options that may be safer for your hearing health.

Monitoring Dosages: If you must take medications known to be ototoxic or tinnitus-inducing, ensure you are taking them at the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration necessary. This approach can help mitigate potential side effects.

Regular Hearing Check-ups: Schedule regular hearing assessments with an audiologist, especially if you are on long-term medication regimens that pose a risk to your hearing. Early detection of any changes in your hearing can prompt adjustments in medication or treatment plans.

Protecting Hearing in Noisy Environments: Exposure to loud noises can contribute to tinnitus or worsen existing symptoms. Use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones in loud environments such as concerts, construction sites, or when using power tools.

Maintaining Overall Health: A healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and adequate sleep can support overall well-being, including auditory health. Managing stress levels effectively can also help reduce the impact of tinnitus.

Avoiding Excessive Use of Ototoxic Substances: In addition to medications, certain substances like alcohol and nicotine can exacerbate tinnitus symptoms. Limiting or avoiding these substances can contribute to better ear health.

Educating Yourself and Others: Stay informed about the potential side effects of medications you are prescribed. Educate family members and caregivers about the importance of minimizing exposure to ototoxic substances, especially for older adults or individuals with pre-existing hearing conditions.


Awareness of the potential link between medications and tinnitus is vital for managing this condition effectively. While not everyone experiences tinnitus from these medications, those at higher risk due to underlying health conditions or prolonged usage should remain vigilant. Regular monitoring of hearing health and open communication with healthcare providers can help mitigate risks and ensure optimal management of tinnitus symptoms. If you suspect that a medication may be contributing to your tinnitus, don’t hesitate to discuss alternatives with your doctor to find a solution that balances therapeutic benefits with minimizing side effects.

Understanding these connections empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their health and medication choices, promoting better outcomes and improved quality of life.


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