Clinical Note
February 1999

Carbamazepine-Induced Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology, Dalhousie University, Faculty of Medicine, Halifax, Nova Scotia (Dr de la Cruz), and Department of Otolaryngology, University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine, Toronto, Ontario (Dr Bance).


Copyright 1999 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1999

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1999;125(2):225-227. doi:10.1001/archotol.125.2.225

Carbamazepine is a commonly prescribed anticonvulsant medication that affects various levels of the nervous system. We report a case of temporary sensorineural hearing loss in a patient after overdosing with 36 g of carbamazepine. Six days after the overdose, the patient complained of bilateral hearing loss and tinnitus. Audiograms revealed a 30- to 40-dB sensorineural hearing loss bilaterally. Another audiogram 2 weeks later showed a complete recovery in both ears accompanied by a clinical resolution in audiovestibular symptoms. Carbamazepine is used to treat partial and generalized seizures, trigeminal neuralgia, and bipolar illness. Adverse effects are not common but most frequently include dizziness, drowziness, nausea, and skin rashes; rare complications are agranulocytosis, bradycardia, and heart block. Documented hearing loss as a side effect of carbamazepine has not been reported, to our knowledge.