Whether Prednisone Can Make Tinnitus Worse is Still Mystical

The sudden ringing of ears or tinnitus might sound like a terror. And certainly, it is! More dangerously tinnitus is mostly associated with sudden hearing loss. This makes the problem more severe. 

Generally, the reason behind tinnitus is idiopathic. But sometimes it may have some link with medications. Prednisone is one of them and many patients ask ‘can prednisone make tinnitus worse’?

However, none of the associations are definite and also seen rarely. 

Yet a bit of knowledge on the medications that can cause tinnitus might prove helpful. Otherwise, sudden tinnitus might appear as a big blow for you.

You will have all the facts and findings about the alliance between prednisone and tinnitus here. So continue reading to get enlightened!

can prednisone make tinnitus worse
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Can Prednisone Make Tinnitus Worse

Prednisone is a medicine that falls under the group of glucocorticosteroids. This is often prescribed for certain health conditions. Some of them are:

  • Arthritis
  • Severe allergies
  • Breathing problems
  • Skin and eye condition
  • Cancer
  • Certain blood problems

Though given as a treatment, almost all steroids have side effects. Prednisone is also not free from them. Now the question is, how severe it might be?

In rare cases, it may stimulate the development of tinnitus followed by deafness. Few people complained that their tinnitus got worse after having prednisone. But the ratio is extremely low. 

Again, ironically, prednisone is used as a treatment for tinnitus and sudden deafness. It is one of the oral steroids for tinnitus

Immediately consider consulting a doctor in any case of tinnitus. Be it mild or severe! Sudden tinnitus needs instant attention. It’s not something you can ignore. 

Doctors will prescribe Prednisone according to the severity of your condition. Generally, 60mg Prednisone for 14 days is prescribed in case of tinnitus and sudden unilateral deafness. The dose is decreased with the pace of your improvement. An audiogram might be recommended to see the development.

This sort of medicine reduces inflammation. Also alters the immune system. And this is why they are useful in treating idiopathic tinnitus. 

It is recommended to start the treatment within 2 weeks of the onset of tinnitus. But hearing loss needs medical attention within 72 hours. Significant improvement is likely to occur with treatment. 

So, the Prednisone effect on tinnitus is controversial till now. Does Prednisone increase the severity of tinnitus? The answer is still vague. But it improved tinnitus and deafness in lots of people. Hence, the positive reviews exceed the negative ones. 

Remember that you are prescribed prednisone for the betterment of certain conditions. Certainly, the advantages are more than the side effects. However, if you are having any problem including tinnitus, consult a doctor immediately. 

Moreover, you must know that Prednisone is not the only drug causing tinnitus. Rather, Prednisone rarely causes it. You might be taking some other drugs which stimulate it. And might not know!. 

Hence, you may accuse Prednisone for no reason. So, knowing about ototoxic drugs will help you in this matter. 

Again, tinnitus is always not a side effect of drugs. Merely, stopping the intake of the drugs won’t help here. Certain medical conditions may stimulate it. It is always important to treat the root cause. This will help in reversing the condition. 

Here are the other conditions stimulating tinnitus along with the general treatments. 

Drugs Causing Whooshing In Your Ears

Benzodiazepines

These sorts of medicines are mainly used for anxiety. And anxiety is a common problem. So, many of you might be taking it. But does it make you ask ‘can prednisone make tinnitus worse’?

Benzodiazepines do not cause tinnitus during the treatment. Instead, tinnitus comes as a withdrawal complication. Generally, this is seen in people who take it for a long time. 

For reducing the withdrawal symptoms, taper the dose gradually. It takes 3 to 6 months to stop the medicine. This is how you can avoid tinnitus. 

Can Omeprazole Cause Tinnitus?

Antibiotics

Most people are used to taking medicine for one reason or the other. Generally, antibiotics are safe. But few of them may exhibit serious side effects like tinnitus.

Tobramycin and Gentamicin are well known for causing tinnitus. Yet they are very effective in treating severe bacterial infection. Hence, are sometimes prescribed by doctors. 

Luckily, these two medicines have got alternatives. So, widespread use of them is avoided. 

Again, Azithromycin and Clarithromycin are also said to be associated with hearing loss. These are very commonly prescribed for certain problems like bronchitis, sinusitis, and pneumonia. 

Short-term use of these medicines is usually risk-free. If you are using them for the long term, consider keeping your ear in check!

Some studies have also shown an association between tinnitus and Ciprofloxacin. You might be having this medicine for sinusitis or urinary infections. Besides, you might be taking Prednisolone as well. Go through tests to find the exact cause behind your tinnitus. 

Aspirin and NSAIDs

Aspirin and NSAIDs are normally prescribed in a low dose. And also recommended not to use it for a long time. 

Medicines like Ibuprofen and Naproxen are ototoxic when high doses are used. Long-term use of high doses is likely to cause tinnitus. This is often followed by hearing loss. 

Fortunately, the effect is reversible if you stop having the drug. 

Loop Diuretics

Bumetanide and Furosemide are mainly used for treatment for heart failure and leg swelling. Also prescribed to control the blood pressure. So, these medicines are mostly given to elderly people. 

Again, tinnitus and hearing loss is also seen in older adults. So, people having high oral doses of these medicines are at risk of developing tinnitus. 

Consult your doctor before starting these medicines. Try to keep the dose low as much as possible. 

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Medicines like Amitriptyline and Nortriptyline are seen to cause ringing of ears. Antidepressants are prescribed for anxiety, depression, and certain chronic pains. Though they are helpful, don’t forget to mind the side effects too. 

However, there are some controversies regarding these medicines. Some TCAs like Escitalopram and Sertraline are used to treat tinnitus. Whereas, some of them are culprits behind tinnitus. The results of the studies are still very vague and you can’t ask ‘can prednisone make tinnitus worse’ confidently. 

So, you might develop tinnitus while having antidepressants. Talk to your doctor about alternative medicines. But do not terminate the intake of medicines by yourself.

Beta-blockers

Beta-blockers are well known for treating high blood pressure. Most beta-blockers are safe to use. But Nebivolol may cause ringing of the ears. Again, Bisoprolol and tinnitus are said to have some connection. It is better to discuss an alternative with your physician if possible. 

Other Conditions Responsible For Tinnitus

Most cases of tinnitus are idiopathic. No exact reason behind them is ever found. In some cases, it might be neurological but mostly it’s not. However, treatment is always given after a proper diagnosis.

Following are some common cases that your ringing of ears might be related to:

  • Excessive earwax buildup may block your ear
  • An infection in the middle ear. This may be associated with earache and high temperature.
  • Abnormal growth of bone in the middle ear known as otosclerosis
  • Unusual fluid build up in the middle ear
  • Perforation in the eardrum
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Damage in the inner ear. Cochlear damage halts the transport of information in the brain. Hence, the over-representation of signals in the brain may cause tinnitus in your ear. 

Other than the above causes, tinnitus might also develop because of:

  • Anemia: Sometimes, the blood becomes thin due to decreased red blood cells. This causes the blood to circulate rapidly which produces a sound in your ear. 
  • Head injury
  • Sudden exposure to very loud noise.
  • The narrowing of the blood vessels is known as atherosclerosis. 
  • High blood pressure or hypertension
  • Non-cancerous growth in the inner ear, known as acoustic neuroma, may cause tinnitus. It affects the nerve that is associated with hearing.
  • Paget’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) or overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism)

Tinnitus Treatment

The treatment of tinnitus depends on the cause. Generally, it is idiopathic and is treated with Prednisone as mentioned above. But this might not be the cause in your case. 

Going through certain tests is necessary before you start the treatment. It might differ depending on the underlying medical condition. Simply worrying about ‘can prednisone make tinnitus worse’ might not be a good idea. 

Here, are common treatments used in the case of tinnitus:

Eardrops 

This can be used to soften the earwax. It will help the wax to come out by itself. Ear irrigation can also be used. Here an electric pump is used to wash your ear wax. 

In some cases, micro-suction and aural toilets are also used.

Sound Therapy

Tinnitus is sometimes noticed in people living in an extremely quiet environment. In those cases, sound enrichment is proven to be useful. Luckily this does not need any extra effort!

Keeping your radio or television on for a certain period also falls under therapy. Or you can just simply keep your windows open. The sound coming from outside will itself play its part in treating your tinnitus!

You can also grab specially formulated sound generators. They mostly generate natural sounds like waves lapping on the shore. Some of you might dislike the sound of the television. 

Moreover, hearing aids with sound generators are also available. You can use them while sleeping. 

Consult a doctor to know the reason behind your tinnitus. It is better not to estimate the cause by yourself. You might guess it wrong which will worsen your tinnitus over time. 

Counseling

This is an important part of the treatment. Counseling helps in coping up with the situation. And also teaches you to manage it more efficaciously 

Your physician will narrate to you the ways to live with tinnitus. And will also help you to know more regarding the condition. This communication will keep you free from the anxiety that often develops due to tinnitus. 

TRT (Tinnitus retraining therapy)

This training mainly focuses on retraining the response of your brain towards tinnitus. The more you become aware of the sound, the more you get irritated. So, this therapy will make you less aware of this continuous sound. 

Generally, this includes long-term counseling along with intensive sound therapy. People with persistent tinnitus can receive therapy privately from specialized personnel.

Apple Cider Vinegar Can Reduce Tinnitus Too

Personal Care

Self-help is important for managing tinnitus. You can try out the following techniques at home:

  • Hobbies: Consider engaging yourself in works you love. This will distract your mind. Hence, you will pay less attention to tinnitus. 
  • Yoga: Anxiety and stress further stimulate tinnitus. Consider performing Yoga regularly. This relaxes both your body and mind. And also frees you from constant tension.
  • Enjoy music: Listening to soothing music helps you sleep quickly and prevents insomnia
  • Communicate with people: Talking to other people with tinnitus might keep your mind at ease. Rather than worrying about ‘can prednisone make tinnitus worse’, try to listen to their experiences and the ways they coped with them. This is how you will know that you are not the odd one out there!

Mostly, tinnitus is reversible. If you ask, does tinnitus caused by medication go away? Yes! Generally, it does. Tinnitus from certain other medical conditions also fades away. So, consider visiting the doctor immediately after self-diagnosis. Sitting at home will just worsen your condition!

FAQ

What are the best antidepressants for tinnitus?

Doctors will prescribe you the best drugs for tinnitus. Tricyclic antidepressants like Imipramine and Sertraline are often recommended by physicians. 

Again, Paroxetine or Fluoxetine may also be prescribed. They are the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). 

The doctors decide the medicine based on your condition. Hence, always consult a doctor before starting any medicine. 

Is there any over-the-counter medicine for tinnitus?

There is no available tinnitus medication over the counter. 

False marketing about a few tinnitus supplements, powders, herbs is seen to be on the rise. They are labeled as “tinnitus remedies” and sold in the market. 

Remember that these products do not have any scientific evidence. And the ingredients used in them do not have any impact on curing tinnitus. Hence, avoid buying any over-the-counter drug for tinnitus. 

What are the signs and symptoms of tinnitus?

Few abnormalities in your ear will let you detect tinnitus. Take a look at them

  • Constant buzzing sound in the ears. This is the major and most common symptom of tinnitus. 
  • You may have musical hallucinations
  • Your hearing pattern may get changed
  • Sometimes, a thumping sound in the ears is noticed
can prednisone make tinnitus worse
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Conclusion

Tinnitus is something that you will never want to experience. But sadly if you do, do not become depressed. Temporary tinnitus has got certain treatments. And they are seen to work successfully on a good number of individuals. 

This article- can Prednisone make tinnitus worse?, depicts the link between Prednisone and tinnitus. Hope this will clear any confusion you had regarding tinnitus!

I'm a medical student from Bangladesh. Along the path of my life, medical science has always entranced and enticed me through it's continuous advancement. I believe being health conscious and having a wholesome lifestyle should be our utmost priority. Being a medical student, I like to share my opinions and views on different aspects of medical science in order to enlighten people with knowledge and to motivate them to become aware of their own health condition. We all need to remember that health comes first! So, I hope that my work will help out and benefit people and assist them to remain hale and hearty in their daily life. Zahin Ibnat MBBS (3rd year) Armed Forces Medical College, Bangladesh

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