Radiotherapy-Induced Hearing Loss in Patients with Laryngeal and Hypopharyngeal Carcinomas

Goran Gudelj, Robert Trotić, Tonko Herceg, Domagoj Parazajder, Davor Vagić, Goran Geber


The purpose of this study was to investigate a hypothesized correlation of development of a sensorineural hearing loss and radiotherapy in patients with laryngeal and hypopharyngeal carcinoma. This prospective study includedatotal of 50 patients, which after strict exclusion critera (audiologic problems before RT, primary tumors of the auditory system, spread of the primary tumor to any part of the auditory system) resulted in 23 analyzed patients, ranging between 50 and 76 years of age, with a mean age of 60. Audiometry measuring frequency-specific thresholds was performed in three time points: one month before radiotherapy, one and six months after radiotherapy. A significant statistical difference in hearing tresholds after radiotherapy was found in 6 out of 23 patients. An obvious tendency towards hearing loss without statistical significance at 250 and 4000 Hz was found for a whole tested population (P0.3 with Bonferroni correction). Observed tendency towards hearing loss after radiotherapy of laryngeal carcinoma was related to side of the tumor and less severe when chemotherapy was not added as adjuvant therapy. These results should help to decrease a rate of hearing loss by careful planing of ear protection, by using observed frequencies as relevant markers of hearing loss and by reconsidering adjuvant chemoterapy during radiotherapy of laryngeal carcinoma.


hearing loss; laryngeal carcinoma; hypopharyngeal carcinoma; radiotherapy; ear protection

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