19 Jun 2015
Cancer and hearing loss. These are words that don’t have a strong association in our vernacular. When you or a loved one is battling cancer, there are other concerns that take centre stage. Working in an oncology and palliative floor at the hospital, I’m acutely aware of the physical and emotional distress that the cancer survivor and their loved ones go through.
One area that’s often overlooked due to the medical urgency of cancer is discussions around quality of life. Chemotherapy drugs are often effective at treating some cancers, but they can have a lot of negative side-effects on the person. One of them is it being harmful to the ears, in other words, ototoxic. Specifically, some platinum drugs such as cisplatin is highly ototoxic and this is well documented in research.
As a healthcare provider, I’m an advocate for improving one’s health but I feel one’s quality of life is just as important. Especially when someone has survived cancer and there may be a risk or recurrence or new disease, you want to optimize their social and emotional well-being by ensuring they have the tools to communicate well.
A well-known researcher in the field of ototoxicity and Audiology, Dr Kathleen Campbell, has experienced this first hand with her family member and reinforces the importance of monitoring someone’s hearing throughout their cancer journey when treated with these ototoxic drugs (read her interview here). Not only is regular monitoring important, but also providing these individuals with digital hearing aids that can accommodate the changing hearing loss through their cancer journey. It’s just as important for them to be able to stay connected with their loved ones as it is for them to continue fighting.
So what would be considered an ototoxic event? The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) defines a significant ototoxic event as meeting one of the three criteria:
a) more than 20 dB decrease at any one test frequency
b) more than 10 dB decrease at any two adjacent frequencies, or
c) loss of response at three consecutive frequencies where responses were previously obtained.
If this is duplicated after 24 hours, then it’s considered an ototoxic change.
Who can determine these side-effects? A licensed Audiologist would be able to test your hearing and monitor these changes and have frank discussions about the status of you or your loved one’s hearing ability.
Dr Campbell suggests regular monitoring before each round of chemo and after the full course of treatment. That way, a baseline can be established and any changes because of each chemo treatment session can be documented.
This is particularly important for children, since they are at greater risk of ototoxicity than adults. These children should have long-term audiologic follow-up when a hearing loss is detected during and after chemotherapy.
June is National Cancer Survivor Month. Focusing on the fight against cancer is very important, but let’s not lose focus on the person and their need for connectedness throughout their journey.
For more information you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 289.856.9933.
*Image courtesy of winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
08 Apr 2015
Find the freedom to…donate your old hearing aids and help others!
Donated hearing aids will be given to Canadian International Hearing Services (CIHS), a charitable organization that refurbishes and distributes used hearing aids to those in need. CIHS has helped bring the gift of improved hearing to countless individuals around the world, and contributes towards a number of worthwhile hearing-related causes. CIHS supports schools for the deaf and trains personnel to identify hearing problems and properly dispense and service hearing devices to those who can truly benefit from them.
No aids to donate? No problem! Simply bring in a non-perishable food item for the Kerr Street Market Food Bank. This Oakville-based charitable organization, run by Kerr Street Ministries, helps to feed local residents experiencing financial challenges. Unfortunately, demand is often greater than supply, and donations are always much needed.
At Chorus, we believe that there is great benefit to joining forces with others, giving back to our community, and in helping those in need. We support both of these worthy causes, and feel that with your contributions, we can make a difference. In appreciation of your donation, we will credit* you $600 towards the purchase of new hearing aids. And, we will work with you to ensure you receive the best hearing devices to suit your unique needs, taking into account your lifestyle, budget, preferences and concerns.
To book your FREE** hearing test, call 289-856-9933 today!
*$600 credit per pair, on selected items. Limited time offer.
** free hearing test for adults 18+