Ototoxic hearing impairment linked to neurocognitive function in survivors of childhood cancer


  • Dawn O'Shea
  • Univadis Medical News
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Severe hearing impairment after ototoxic therapy may be associated with neurocognitive deficits, according to research published in JAMA Oncology.

In the cross-sectional study of 1,520 childhood cancer survivors, more than one in three of those who had been treated with ototoxic therapy had severe hearing impairment. Survivors with severe hearing impairment were at increased risk for neurocognitive deficits, independent of neurotoxic therapy, compared with survivors with normal hearing or with mild hearing impairment.

Prevalence and risk of severe hearing impairment were higher in survivors in the platinum-only (n=107; relative risk [RR] 1.68; 95% CI 1.20-2.37) or cochlear radiotherapy (n=181; RR 2.69; 95% CI 2.02-3.57) group compared with those in the no exposure group (n=65).

Severe hearing impairment was associated with deficits in verbal reasoning skills, verbal fluency, visuomotor speed and mathematics skills, compared with survivors with normal hearing or with mild HI.

The authors say early screening and intervention for hearing impairment may facilitate the development and maintenance of neurocognitive function and identify individuals at risk for impairment.