Definition of Ototoxicity

Ototoxicity: toxicity (the state of being poisonous or damaging) to the ear. The term ototoxicity is used in medicine to refer to substances, typically medications, which are damaging to the auditory nerve or to the vestibular system of the ear. The effects of an ototoxic substance may be permanent or temporary as well as mild to severe in intensity. Symptoms of ototoxicity include dizziness, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), hearing loss, poor coordination, and unsteady gait. Over 100 classes of drugs have been linked to ototoxicity in some capacity.

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

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