Hearing problems often occur among adult cancer survivors, the study reports

While children receiving chemotherapy routinely get hearing tests, adults do not, and a new UC San Francisco study reports for the first time that significant hearing problems often occur among adult survivors of the most common forms of cancer.

The researchers found that more than half of the survivors in their study who had been treated with chemotherapy had significant hearing problems.

Previously, it was unknown how often breast, gastrointestinal, gynecological, or lung cancer survivors experienced clinically significant levels of hearing loss and tinnitus (also in the ear).

The paper is published on Wednesday 27 July 2022 in BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care.

Although hearing loss associated with platinum drug administration was reported in adults with testicular and head and neck cancer, our study is the first to show that hearing loss and tinnitus are very common problems in survivors of the four most common types of cancer.”

Steven W. Cheung, MD, first author, Professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at UCSF

“Another important and previously unknown finding from our study is that these high rates of hearing loss and tinnitus occur not only with platinum drugs, but with another class of chemotherapy drugs called taxanes,” he said. “Since chemotherapy regimens containing platinum and taxanes are the most commonly used to treat most cancers, these findings have major implications for physicians treating cancer patients as well as cancer survivors.”

The study involved 273 cancer survivors who were 61 years old on average and had completed cancer treatment about five years earlier.

The researchers found that more than 50 percent experienced significant hearing loss confirmed by an audiogram, a type of hearing test, and more than 35 percent reported tinnitus.

Reflecting the negative impact that hearing loss and tinnitus can have on mood and social interactions, participants with hearing loss reported moderate to severe levels of impairment with routine activities such as listening television or radio, talking to family and friends or chatting in restaurants.

People with tinnitus reported that this problem interfered with their ability to concentrate or relax, their mood and enjoyment of life, and their sleep.

The researchers said the findings have important implications for the care of cancer patients and survivors. Given that hearing loss and tinnitus are not routinely assessed in patients receiving chemotherapy for breast, gastrointestinal, lung, and gynecologic cancer, and that many of these individuals may be experiencing some degree of hearing loss related to l ‘age, hearing loss and tinnitus assessments should be done. done before, during and after the administration of chemotherapy, the authors said.

In addition, the authors noted that because hearing loss is often underestimated, routine monitoring and follow-up should be performed by hearing care professionals. Individualized tinnitus management plans require consultation with specialist physicians.

Notably, while 31 percent of participants denied having hearing loss, they were later found to be hearing impaired on audiometry.

“Although individuals often underestimate hearing problems, our findings point to the need for cancer survivors to get a hearing test,” said lead and corresponding author Christine Miaskowski, RN, PhD, a member of the UCSF School of Nursing and the UCSF Helen Diller Family. Comprehensive Cancer Center. She is also a member of the American Academy of Nursing in recognition of her achievements in nursing.

“Although the type of hearing loss that occurs with platinum drugs and taxanes is permanent, patients’ hearing can be improved with the use of a hearing aid,” Miaskowski said. “Only 17 percent of the survivors in our study used a hearing aid, suggesting that clinicians should routinely refer survivors for a hearing test.”


University of California – San Francisco

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *