Question: Can opiate use affect hearing loss?

Answer: Opioids are derived from chemicals that bind to receptors in the ears and brain. In some people, opiate abuse can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. It may start out as temporary loss and, after repeated use, become permanent hearing loss. The loss may be in one ear or both ears and vary from high frequency loss to a flat loss for most all frequencies.

The U.S. is in an unprecedented opioid overdose epidemic. Reports show more than 28,000 people died in 2014 from opioid overdose. Also, more than 10,500 deaths occurred from heroin.

One study showed opiate-induced hearing loss present in 2 out of 4 abusers. Not only is opioid abuse deadly, it may also leave permanent hearing loss for years to come.