When it comes to hearing loss in cancer survivors, It just doesn’t seem fair, does it? After being diagnosed with cancer and going through all the treatments to beat it, you are now left with hearing loss.

Certain cancer treatments are known to cause hearing loss. Cisplatin, a chemotherapy drug, has been used to treat cancer for more than 40 years. Even though Cisplatin is effective, it is known to cause hearing loss as well as tinnitus.

Cisplatin isn’t the only chemotherapy drug that has been proven to be detrimental to one’s hearing. Mechlorethaine as well as other platinum-based drugs like Carboplatin can also cause hearing loss. These drugs are classified as ototoxic, which means they can cause damage to the inner ear. Other medications such as aminoglycoside antibiotics, certain anti-nausea medications and diuretics are known to cause hearing loss as well.

Results from a new study may explain why many patients treated with Cisplatin have lasting hearing loss. Researchers found that Cisplatin can be detected in the cochlea (the snail shaped part of the inner ear which produces nerve impulses in response to sound vibrations) months and even years after treatment. Even though this drug is eliminated from other organs within a relatively short time after being taken, it still remains in the cochlea and causes damage.

Findings suggest that primary care physicians and oncologists should question patients who have undergone Cisplatin chemotherapy about their hearing health and consult with an Audiologist when needed. Hearing testing can help identify patients who would benefit from hearing rehabilitation.

The Audiologists at Lemme Audiology Associates work with healthcare providers that care for those who have undergone cancer treatments to contribute to their overall wellness. If you feel your hearing has changed since completing treatment for a cancer, call to schedule a consultation at our Altoona or Ebensburg office. Together, we can help guide you onto a path of better hearing and communication.


Information Sources: Healthhearing.com, National Cancer Institute, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

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