Drugs & Ears

There is limited pharmacoepidemiologic work that focuses on the effects that medications have on ear disease and ear health, yet there is a lot to learn. Our work is tackling two areas that are well-recognized and prominent areas in otology: medication ototoxicity and risk-benefit of antibiotic use. Other work in drugs & ears has evolved from our collaborations and this ongoing work, all with the goal to optimize the use of medications in otology.

child with hearing aid

Drug Risk benefit / optimizing drug use

Drugs & Hearing Loss

Several drugs are known to cause hearing loss, but many gaps exist in our understanding of medication ototoxicity, ranging from risk of fetal exposure to risk factors among older adults. We have evaluated several emerging concerns about ototoxicity ranging from phosphodiesterase inhibitors to macrolide antibiotics. To facilitate this work we have developed algorithms to measure sensorineural hearing loss and are planning further validation studies to enhance our ability to draw causal inferences. Other future plans include a more concerted focus on prenatal exposure and hearing loss in infants and big data approaches to understand the contribution of medications and their interplay with other factors contributing to hearing loss in adults.

Key publications


Drug risk benefit and drug use

Drugs & Otitis

Many cases of acute otitis media (AOM) are self-limiting and may be treated with watchful waiting. While reducing antibiotic use in treating one of the most common pediatric infectious diseases offers a tremendous public health benefit in reducing antibiotic resistance, there is a rare but significant risk for complications when AOM untreated. There are also important patient-level considerations on risk benefit such as with the use of fluoroquinolone and tissue toxicity. Our work characterizes and evaluates treatment approaches with the ultimate goal to optimize antibiotic use.

Key publications