Chemotherapy and Hearing Loss

Chemotherapy and Hearing Loss

Most of us know someone who has either been through, or might currently be going through, some form of chemotherapy. The number of times we’ve all heard about the nausea associated with this treatment is probably in check with the number of times we’ve heard about the treatment itself. In other words, they seem to go hand in hand.

But one possible, lesser-known side effect of modern chemotherapy techniques is nerve damage and possible hearing loss following as a result. What is now known is that this hearing loss has been linked to chemo medications that are platinum-based. These medications have been found to damage the so-called “hair cells” of the inner ear, thus causing hearing damage and sometimes even complete loss. In one study, 61 of the 67 patients tested developed hearing loss, so the problem is actually pretty far reaching.

In children, these platinum-based chemotherapy drugs have been the cause of a number of hearing issues. From ringing to complete hearing loss, the range of the loss seems to vary, sometimes even in the same patient. On top of the obvious issues that could arise from such losses, it has been estimated that 37% of children with even mild hearing loss stemming from these drugs have been held back in school due to their hearing deficiencies.

The good news is that these harmful side effects may be a thing of the past, with pharmaceutical companies and doctors now aware of the cause and working to correct the issues. Of course, the bad news is that for many patients, the damage has already been done. For these patients, there are many hearing assistive devices available to handle a wide range of hearing deficiencies, but nothing that can yet help restore the loss of their natural hearing abilities.

While nothing can match the full restoration of hearing for these individuals, the assistive hearing technologies and correctional surgeries of today’s medical community are making bold steps at every turn.

If you’ve experienced a loss of hearing due to these treatments, contact North County Audiology today, and let us help you find the right hearing loss solution for you!

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Dr. Podlenski

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