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July 30, 2020

Seeing (Hearing Loss) With Fresh Eyes

Author Affiliations
  • 1Institute for Cancer Outcomes and Survivorship, Department of Pediatrics, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, Birmingham
JAMA Oncol. Published online July 30, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.2639

Hearing loss in childhood cancer survivors who receive potentially ototoxic therapy (particularly platinum chemotherapy and radiotherapy involving the cochlea) is a well-known, long-term, life-altering complication.1 Known consequences of hearing loss in childhood cancer survivors include academic difficulties,2 social isolation,3 and problems with language acquisition (in children who are prelingual at the time of cancer therapy),4 all of which can significantly impair quality of life.5 While previous studies have suggested an association between severe hearing impairment and neurocognitive deficits in survivors of pediatric central nervous system (CNS) tumors,6-8 to my knowledge, this association has not been clinically evaluated in previous studies of survivors of non-CNS pediatric tumors. In addition, the mediating effect of hearing impairment on neurocognitive outcomes among childhood cancer survivors treated with cranial radiotherapy (CRT) has not been previously examined, to my knowledge.

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