Decreased hearing after combined modality therapy for head and neck cancer

Susan E. Pearson, Abby C. Meyer, George L. Adams, Frank G. Ondrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Purpose: Combined platinum-based chemoradiation therapy is frequently being used as therapy for head and neck cancer at multiple sites. These therapies are individually ototoxic, but little has been reported on their combined toxicity. Materials and methods: A retrospective investigation of 37 patients known to have undergone therapy with both agents, in combination, for head and neck malignancy was performed. Sixty percent of the patients had complaints of hearing loss subjectively. Reliable pretreatment and posttreatment audiograms were obtained on 15 of these patients. Audiograms were analyzed for sensorineural changes at 0.5, 1, 2, 4, and 8 kHz. Results: By paired t test analysis, there were significant changes in the patients with pretreatment and posttreatment audiograms at all frequencies. More than 50% of the patients had a change of 10 dB or greater in their pure-tone average. More than 85% of the patients experienced changes in their hearing at 4 and 8 kHz. Conclusions: We conclude that patients undergoing combined modality therapy for head and neck cancer experience hearing loss. We recommend that hearing assessment, including pretreatment and posttreatment audiometry, be performed in all patients undergoing combined platinum-based chemotherapy and radiation for the treatment of head and neck cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-80
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2006

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Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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