Hearing Loss is One of the Radiation Therapy Side Effects

While treating cancer is one facet of addressing the ailment, dealing with the side effects of the standard modalities of remedy is another important aspect.

Radiation therapy side effects

can involve partial or permanent hearing loss more in patients undergoing this treatment for head and neck cancer in comparison to patients seeking other remedies.

The results of the research study which discovered this findings were published in detail in the November 2010 issue of the JAMA journal Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Three-five percent people develop this sixth most common cancer in the United States. Men above the age of 50 years are at high risk of developing this cancer. Consumption of tobacco and alcohol is the cause of this ailment in most of the cases according to the National Cancer Institute.

Research Knowledge Gained on Radiation Therapy Side Effects:

  • Though surgery and chemotherapy are also available to treat this disease, the choice of the remedy depends on factors like size, site and stage of the tumor.
  • Any of these treatments can affect the hearing system. But, the radiation therapy is most commonly used to kill the tumor in nearly 100 percent cases the structures of the hearing mechanism are damaged in the process.
  • In the present study, the experts studied the cases of 282 head and neck cancer patients with 50 percent of them undergoing radiation therapy and risking their hearing ability.
  • All these participants were made to undergo hearing tests which evaluated their ability to hear and the impact of hearing loss in their daily lives.
  • 72.3 percent participants who had the treatment reported of hearing loss in comparison to 48.9 percent patients from the untreated group.
  • Right ears were affected severely in 6.4 percent participants in the treated group while the left ears were badly affected in 8.5 percent people from the same group.
  • The other group had 0.7 percent participants with severely damaged right ears and 1.4 percent people suffered equally severely damaged left ears.
  • Overall, the treated group participants were 19.1 percent more likely to have severely impaired hearing loss in comparison to 2.8 percent of their counterparts from the untreated group.


The participants from the group one were also found to be more depressed, anxious, lonely and paranoid which are additional

radiation therapy side effects

revealed by the study.

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