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Definition of Ototoxicity

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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.


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Reviewed on 10/30/2018

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

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