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

Shorter, Phoebe, Harden, Fiona, Owen, Rebecca, Burmeister, Bryan, & 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), pp. 316-322.

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Definitive cisplatin-based 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 manuscript 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.


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 prior to 1990. Keywords included hearing loss, ototoxicity, cancer, quality of life, cisplatin and radiotherapy.


The total number of journal articles accessed was 290. Due to exclusion criteria, 129 articles were deemed appropriated for review. Findings indicated that sensorineural hearing loss is a significant, long term complication for patients treated with cisplatin-based chemoradiation. Current literature recognises 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 that these patients face significant quality of life impairment.


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.

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ID Code: 81974
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: sensorineural hearing loss, quality of life, head and neck neoplasm, combined modality therapy
DOI: 10.1016/j.jmir.2013.11.003
ISSN: 1939-8654
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Clinical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences, [VOL 45, ISSUE 3, (2014)] DOI: 10.1016/j.jmir.2013.11.003
Deposited On: 23 Feb 2015 23:08
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2015 04:34

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