We carried out a review of the literature published over the last 10 years on drug-induced ototoxicity by means of a Medline search using the terms 'clinical ototoxicity' for the period January 1990 to September 2000 and found 414 published articles. In order to summarize the content of these articles, we asked ourselves a series of nine questions and answered them based on the most widely-held views and those we considered of greatest interest in the articles reviewed. The questions asked were: what are the most commonly used ototoxic drugs? what is the site of action of ototoxic drugs? what is the importance of the dose and dosing interval? does age influence ototoxicity? are all humans equally prone to the ototoxic effects of drugs? are there substances that are protective against ototoxicity? can hearing loss be monitored? should hearing loss be attributed to ototoxic drugs in all cases? and is ototoxicity in animals the same as in humans?