Tina Myers, 46, a busy mom of five children and a breast cancer survivor, had an unexpected encounter with hearing loss as a result of chemotherapy drugs. First of all, the diagnosis of cancer came as a shock because no one in her family ever had cancer before. She was diagnosed in 2015. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation--as treatments--were no surprise. But treatment did not include a baseline hearing test, which she wouldn’t have expected anyway.
Two years after her cancer struggle, she noticed major changes with her hearing. She didn’t hear her kids calling her or the doorbell ringing. She also had problems hearing at work when she returned there. Myers never had hearing problems before she got cancer treatment, believing two years of chemotherapy drug treatments did the damage.
In a study, 61 out of 67 cancer patients had hearing loss after being treated with chemotherapy drugs. The study was done at Oregon Health and Science University. The subjects were eight months to 23 years old.
Some patients also experience tinnitus--ringing or chirping in the ears. The damage to the nerves or hair cells can’t be reversed. And 24 hours after one round of chemotherapy hearing loss can occur. Jennifer Boho, also a cancer survivor and who works in the hearing field, said that she immediately heard relentless ringing in her ears following a chemotherapy treatment.
Myers says that with hearing aids, she can hear again and communicate with her children. Of the former situation, she says, “I would say eye opening, but it has been ear opening.” Her cancer has spread to her bones and she still receives chemotherapy treatments, but the new drugs do not affect her hearing.
Be sure to ask about what drugs affect hearing and get a baseline hearing test as a starting point for tracking any hearing loss. For more information on hearing loss, please contact your hearing instrument specialist at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.