High-frequency audiometry reveals high prevalence of aminoglycoside ototoxicity in children with cystic fibrosis

J Cyst Fibros. 2015 Mar;14(2):248-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jcf.2014.07.009. Epub 2014 Aug 13.


Background: Intravenous aminoglycoside (IV AG) antibiotics, widely used in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), are known to have ototoxic complications. Despite this, audiological monitoring is not commonly performed and if performed, uses only standard pure-tone audiometry (PTA). The aim of this study was to investigate ototoxicity in CF children, to determine the most appropriate audiological tests and to identify possible risk factors.

Methods: Auditory assessment was performed in CF children using standard pure tone audiometry (PTA), extended high-frequency (EHF) audiometry and distortion-product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAE).

Results: 70 CF children, mean (SD) age 10.7 (3.5) years, were recruited. Of the 63 children who received IV AG, 15 (24%) children had ototoxicity detected by EHF audiometry and DPOAE. Standard PTA only detected ototoxicity in 13 children. Eleven of these children had received at least 10 courses of IV AG courses. A 25 to 85 dBHL hearing loss (mean±SD: 57.5±25.7 dBHL) across all EHF frequencies and a significant drop in DPOAE amplitudes at frequencies 4 to 8 kHz were detected. However, standard PTA detected a significant hearing loss (>20 dBHL) only at 8 kHz in 5 of these 15 children and none in 2 subjects who had significantly elevated EHF thresholds. The number of courses of IV AG received, age and lower lung function were shown to be risk factors for ototoxicity.

Conclusions: CF children who had received at least 10 courses of IV AG had a higher risk of ototoxicity. EHF audiometry identified 2 more children with ototoxicity than standard PTA and depending on facilities available, should be the test of choice for detecting ototoxicity in children with CF receiving IV AG.

Keywords: Aminoglycoside; Audiometry; Cystic fibrosis; Ototoxicity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravenous
  • Adolescent
  • Aminoglycosides* / administration & dosage
  • Aminoglycosides* / adverse effects
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone / methods
  • Child
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss* / chemically induced
  • Hearing Loss* / diagnosis
  • Hearing Loss* / physiopathology
  • Hearing Loss* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Otoacoustic Emissions, Spontaneous*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • United Kingdom


  • Aminoglycosides