Sensorineural hearing loss after treatment for head and neck cancer: a review of the literature

Shorter, Phoebe, Harden, Fiona, Owen, Rebecca, Burmeister, Bryan and Foote, Matthew (2014) Sensorineural hearing loss after treatment for head and neck cancer: a review of the literature. Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences, 45 3: 316-322. doi:10.1016/j.jmir.2013.11.003


Author Shorter, Phoebe
Harden, Fiona
Owen, Rebecca
Burmeister, Bryan
Foote, Matthew
Title Sensorineural hearing loss after treatment for head and neck cancer: a review of the literature
Journal name Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1939-8654
1876-7982
Publication date 2014-09
Year available 2014
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1016/j.jmir.2013.11.003
Open Access Status
Volume 45
Issue 3
Start page 316
End page 322
Total pages 7
Place of publication Philadelphia, PA, United States
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: Definitive cisplatin-based chemoradiation is increasingly delivered as the treatment of choice for patients with head and neck cancer. Sensorineural hearing loss is a significant long-term side effect of cisplatin-based chemoradiation and is associated with potential major quality of life issues for patients. The purpose of this article was to review the mechanism behind sensorineural hearing loss in patients treated with cisplatin-based chemoradiation, including incidence, the contributions of radiotherapy and cisplatin to sensorineural hearing loss, and the impact of the toxicity on patient quality of life.

Methods: Database searches were conducted through PubMed (National Centre for Biotechnology Information) and OvidSP Medline via the Queensland University of Technology Library website. General article searches were conducted through the online search engine Google Scholar. Articles were excluded if the full text was unavailable, they were not in English, or if they were published before 1990. Key words included hearing loss, ototoxicity, cancer, quality of life, cisplatin, and radiotherapy.

Results/Discussion: The total number of journal articles accessed was 290. Because of exclusion criteria, 129 articles were deemed appropriate for review. Findings indicated that sensorineural hearing loss is a significant, long-term complication for patients treated with cisplatin-based chemoradiation. Current literature recognizes the ototoxic effects of cisplatin and cranial irradiation as separate entities; however, the impact of combined modality therapy on sensorineural hearing loss is seldom reported. Multiple risk factors for hearing loss are described; however, there are contradictory opinions on incidence and severity and the exact radiation dose threshold responsible for inducing hearing loss in patients receiving combined modality therapy. Sensorineural hearing loss creates a subset of complexities for patients with head and neck cancer and these patients face significant quality of life impairment.

Conclusions: The literature review identified that sensorineural hearing loss is a major quality of life issue for patients treated with cisplatin-based chemoradiation for head and neck cancer. Further investigation evaluating the contribution of cisplatin-based chemoradiation to sensorineural hearing loss and the subsequent effect on patient quality of life is warranted.
Keyword Sensorineural hearing loss
Quality of life
Head and neck neoplasm
Combined modality therapy
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
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