Do Opioids Cause Hearing Loss? August 14th, 2018 The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake
Blog & News Do Opioids Cause Hearing Loss?

Do Opioids Cause Hearing Loss?

Man with hand to his ear

Several studies suggest that some individuals are susceptible to hearing loss caused by opioids. A 2011 study showed that men who misused opioids had a 50 percent chance of suffering hearing loss, and when they were also exposed to recreational or occupational noise, those numbers increased to as high as 100 percent. Although the study sample was small, it still indicated a connection between opioid misuse and hearing loss that cannot be ignored. 

Hearing loss caused by opioids either alone or combined with noise exposure is irreversible, and can only be remedied by a cochlear implant that costs tens of thousands of dollars, although it is usually covered by insurance for those who have it. While cochlear implants can mitigate the effects of hearing loss on a person's life, not everyone can get them because of cost or lack of insurance, and even those who do get them need to go through surgery, recovery, and therapy in order to use them successfully, a major disruption to their lives and a significant time commitment. 

Getting treatment for opioid addiction can prevent or minimize hearing loss and prevent a serious, life-altering effect of using these substances in ways other than how they are prescribed. Along with the risk of overdose, dependence, and many other side effects from gastrointestinal discomfort to dizziness and respiratory depression, hearing loss is yet another reason not to misuse opioids.

Effects of Hearing Loss on Lifestyle

Hearing loss always has an impact on people's lives and can cause difficulties in various contexts. One impact of hearing loss is the difficulty or inability to communicate with friends and loved ones. Opioid misuse can already be isolating, but hearing loss can exacerbate this isolation when you feel the need to avoid contact because you know it will be difficult to hear what the other person is saying. 

Ear with cochealar implant

Cochlear implants can be one solution to hearing loss caused by opioid misuse.

Hearing loss can also impact your work if it becomes more difficult to understand your colleagues or supervisor to get instructions or collaborate on a project. For those who do suffer hearing loss, it is important to address this with HR and your supervisor and put adaptations in place to ensure that you can function at work in the best possible way.

Besides the impact of hearing loss on relationships, it can also impact other parts of your life. Your safety could be at risk if you cannot hear noises that would warn you of danger, like thunder or a car horn. Your enjoyment could be impacted by the inability to hear music, television, and movies, or the noises found in nature, and you may be unable to respond to verbal or sound cues in the usually expected ways, which may cause you difficulties. 

Getting help for opioid misuse can prevent these problems or help to minimize them and preserve your hearing functionality. Colorado addiction treatment from The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake can provide the help you need to stop opioid misuse and find your way to recovery.  Contact us today to learn more.


Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.