Ototoxicity and Quality of Life for Cancer Survivors

Ototoxicity and Quality of Life for Cancer Survivors

October 07, 2019 In the News

Hearing loss related to platinum-based chemotherapeutics has long been recognized. Nonetheless, the preservation of life has outweighed concerns for ototoxicity.

Cancer continues to be a life-altering diagnosis; however, the prevalence of deaths is declining with medical advances. For this reason, it is important to consider the impact of toxicities/morbidities, such as ototoxicity on the quality of life of cancer survivors.  

Pearson et al (2019) performed a systematic review of the influence of hearing loss and tinnitus on quality of life in persons treated with cisplatin. The study group screened over 300 abstracts and identified 11 studies as part of the final review.  The majority of the studies were cross-sectional in nature (n =6) (two randomized control trials and one longitudinal study) while the remaining were pilot studies.

The overall results in general suggested that quality of life was indeed impacted by hearing loss and/or tinnitus in cancer patients.  However, there were significant shortcomings in the literature; some were opinions based on a hypothetical scenario, many did not consider severity of ototoxicity, and there was lack of standardization in report of quality of life. The eye-opening finding of this meta-analysis was the lack of research on quality of life in persons with hearing loss and tinnitus as a of chemotherapy. As survival rates increase, emphasis on long-term toxicities, such as hearing loss and tinnitus, will become more and more critical to address.


Pearson et al. (2019) Cancer survivors treated with platinum-based chemotherapy affected by ototoxicity and the impact on quality of life: a narrative synthesis systematic reviewInt J. Audio, prepub.

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