Ototoxic drugs are widely used in the developing world, without audiological monitoring. Epidemiological data on ototoxic deafness are lacking for developing countries. The public health aspect of ototoxicity is often overlooked, to the detriment of the individual patient. This paper reviews ototoxic hearing loss, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, and also assesses the impact of treatments for tuberculosis, cancer and human immunodeficiency virus (the latter including highly active antiretroviral therapy) on ototoxic hearing loss. The paper also discusses obstacles to audiological monitoring for ototoxicity in the developing world, and the potential of audiology screening using applications for mobile devices.