To investigate occurrences of hearing loss and hearing complaints among patients with head and neck tumors who underwent radiotherapy.
Prospective case-control study.
Tertiary care hospital.
Two hundred eighty-two participants underwent evaluation, including 141 with head and neck tumors and 141 as an age-matched control group. The controls had never undergone oncological treatment that put their hearing at risk.
Main Outcome Measures
Results of audiological evaluation, including the Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Elderly questionnaire and pure-tone, speech, and immittance audiometry, and radiation dose received by the auditory system (based on the percentage of the external auditory canal included in the radiation field).
We observed occurrences of hearing loss in 102 (72.3%) of the participants exposed to radiotherapy and 69 (48.9%) of the control group (P < .001). Hearing losses were mostly sensorineural and of mild degree, but those exposed to radiotherapy more frequently presented with severe and mixed-type hearing losses (P < .001). Of the participants exposed to radiotherapy, 19.1% had a severe handicap (P < .001).
Patients undergoing radiotherapy in the head and neck region have a higher incidence of hearing loss and more severe hearing handicap.
clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01102621