Hearing loss with radiotherapy for head and neck tumors

Radiotherapy (RT) for head and neck tumors has permanent, progressive, and dose-dependent effects on patients' hearing, report researchers.

Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) presents clinically at least 12 months after RT with initial loss of the high frequencies, report Sam Daniel (The Montreal Children's Hospital, Quebec, Canada) and team.

"A high frequency audiometry protocol should be consistently performed as a reliable method for early detection and follow-up of patients with SNHL," they say.

The findings come from a systematic review of articles published between 1970 and 2011 that reported on SNHL among patients who had received RT alone for head and neck tumors.

Daniel and team explain that previous studies of the literature lack conclusive evidence regarding the incidence and characteristics of hearing loss due to RT alone, as well as its associated risk factors. "Articles regarding SNHL after RT often include patients that are also treated with chemotherapy blurring the degree of hearing loss attributable to RT," they write.

The current study showed that the incidence of SNHL observed at frequencies above 4 kHz ranged from 27-95%, significantly more than that observed for speech frequencies (<4 kHz), which ranged from 0-85%.

Across all studies, a greater degree of SNHL was recorded at the shortest follow-up period (12 months) post-RT for frequencies above versus below 4 kHz and this trend was observed up to the maximum mean follow-up period of 8 years.

Overall, the team found that there was a consensus across the studies that the total radiation dose administered to the cochlea was the main risk factor for SNHL, and the minimum dose reported to be a risk factor was 45 Gy.

Gender and comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension were not found to be risk factors for SNHL, while the risk effect of age was inconsistent throughout the studies.

"Further studies are needed to characterize the extent of damage to the retrocochlear pathways and its impact on hearing," say Daniel and team.

However, the authors conclude that patients receiving RT should be followed up for at least 1 year after RT with long-term serial audiometry.

Licensed from medwireNews with permission from Springer Healthcare Ltd. ©Springer Healthcare Ltd. All rights reserved. Neither of these parties endorse or recommend any commercial products, services, or equipment.

Sally Robertson

Written by

Sally Robertson

Sally first developed an interest in medical communications when she took on the role of Journal Development Editor for BioMed Central (BMC), after having graduated with a degree in biomedical science from Greenwich University.

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Robertson, Sally. (2018, August 23). Hearing loss with radiotherapy for head and neck tumors. News-Medical. Retrieved on September 26, 2022 from https://www.news-medical.net/news/20130115/Hearing-loss-with-radiotherapy-for-head-and-neck-tumors.aspx.

  • MLA

    Robertson, Sally. "Hearing loss with radiotherapy for head and neck tumors". News-Medical. 26 September 2022. <https://www.news-medical.net/news/20130115/Hearing-loss-with-radiotherapy-for-head-and-neck-tumors.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Robertson, Sally. "Hearing loss with radiotherapy for head and neck tumors". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20130115/Hearing-loss-with-radiotherapy-for-head-and-neck-tumors.aspx. (accessed September 26, 2022).

  • Harvard

    Robertson, Sally. 2018. Hearing loss with radiotherapy for head and neck tumors. News-Medical, viewed 26 September 2022, https://www.news-medical.net/news/20130115/Hearing-loss-with-radiotherapy-for-head-and-neck-tumors.aspx.

Comments

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment
Post
You might also like...
Hearing issues often occur among adult cancer survivors, study reports