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Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 1999 Dec;108(12):1159-64.

Radiation-induced hearing impairment in patients treated for malignant parotid tumor.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan.


Radiation-induced hearing loss was evaluated in 21 patients with unilateral malignant parotid tumors treated with surgery and radiotherapy. The contralateral ear was used as a control. Eight patients (38%) were found to have a reduction in static compliance of the tympanic membrane (type B tympanogram) in the irradiated ear. By audiometry, significant hearing loss was found in 9 patients (43%). These hearing losses were mainly sensorineural, as shown by a similar reduction in both air and bone conduction, although mixed-type hearing loss existed in some patients. A statistically significant difference in incidence of 67% versus 0% (p = .0085) was noted for patients with a cochlear dose of greater than or equal to 60 Gy, in comparison to those receiving doses of less than 60 Gy. A type B tympanogram was also found to be a prognostic factor for significant sensorineural hearing loss. Patients with type B tympanograms had a much higher incidence of significant sensorineural hearing loss than those with type A tympanograms (88% versus 15%, p = .02). This study clearly shows that radiotherapy can induce significant hearing impairment, especially when the cochlear doses are higher than 60 Gy.

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