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Substance abuse is a rare but known cause of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). We report a case of acute SNHL in a 28-year-old man following an overdose of methamphetamine and incidental ingestion of fentanyl. On initial encounter, he had moderate-to-severe hearing loss in the right ear and severe-to-profound hearing loss in the left ear in addition to acute kidney injury, liver failure, and lactic acidosis. The patient was treated with a two-week course of high-dose steroids and expressed a subjective improvement in hearing. This case highlights the importance of auditory testing following a drug overdose and is one of the only documented cases of hearing loss following methamphetamine use in recent years. There is a paucity of literature regarding the mechanism causing acute SNHL secondary to methamphetamines. Proposed etiologies include neurotransmitter depletion or reduced cochlear blood flow as possible causes of ototoxicity.


This article was published in Ear, Nose and Throat Journal.

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Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). CC BY-NC 4.0.

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Ear, Nose & Throat Journal