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Can a New Device Detect Early Signs of Hearing Loss in Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy?

A team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University are currently developing a device to detect early signs of hearing loss in patients receiving chemotherapy treatment.

“Some commonly used chemotherapy drugs are ototoxic—that is, they can damage structures in the inner ear involved in hearing,” said David Klodd, professor of audiology in the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.

The structures most affected are the hair cells within the inner ear, which help communicate sounds to the brain. Once they are damaged, they cannot be repaired.

The device is intended to be able to detect hearing loss in a patient early into their chemotherapy treatment, even preceding noticeable symptoms, so doctors will have the opportunity to modify their treatment plan to hopefully avoid the progression of the loss.

To evaluate the device, the team will observe 20 patients at University of Illinois Health ages 10—65 who are undergoing chemotherapy with cisplatin, a drug known to cause hearing loss in recipients.

The Chicago team is not the first to explore preventative hearing loss treatment options for those battling cancer. In May, 2014, researchers in Cardiff announced they had discovered that taking high doses of aspirin can help prevent the development of hearing loss in those undergoing chemotherapy.

Last updated: June 24, 2014

 

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