Patient-Reported Functional Impairment Due to Hearing Loss and Tinnitus After Cisplatin-Based Chemotherapy

J Clin Oncol. 2023 Jan 10;JCO2201456. doi: 10.1200/JCO.22.01456. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: Cisplatin is widely used and highly ototoxic, but patient-reported functional impairment because of cisplatin-related hearing loss (HL) and tinnitus has not been comprehensively evaluated.

Patients and methods: Testicular cancer survivors (TCS) given first-line cisplatin-based chemotherapy completed validated questionnaires, including the Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults (HHIA) and Tinnitus Primary Function Questionnaire (TPFQ), each of which quantifies toxicity-specific functional impairment. Spearman correlations evaluated associations between HL and tinnitus severity and level of functional handicap quantified with the HHIA and TPFQ, respectively. Associations between HL or tinnitus and five prespecified adverse health outcomes (cognitive dysfunction, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and overall health) were evaluated.

Results: HL and tinnitus affected 137 (56.4%) and 147 (60.5%) of 243 TCS, respectively. Hearing aids were used by 10% TCS (14/137). Of TCS with HL, 35.8% reported clinically significant functional impairment. Severe HHIA-assessed functional impairment was associated with cognitive dysfunction (odds ratio [OR], 10.62; P < .001), fatigue (OR, 5.48; P = .003), and worse overall health (OR, 0.19; P = .012). Significant relationships existed between HL severity and HHIA score, and tinnitus severity and TPFQ score (P < .0001 each). TCS with either greater hearing difficulty or more severe tinnitus were more likely to report cognitive dysfunction (OR, 5.52; P = .002; and OR, 2.56; P = .05), fatigue (OR, 6.18; P < .001; and OR, 4.04; P < .001), depression (OR, 3.93; P < .01; and OR, 3.83; P < .01), and lower overall health (OR, 0.39; P = .03; and OR, 0.46; P = .02, respectively).

Conclusion: One in three TCS with HL report clinically significant functional impairment. Follow-up of cisplatin-treated survivors should include routine assessment for HL and tinnitus. Use of the HHIA and TPFQ permit risk stratification and referral to audiologists as needed, since HL adversely affects functional status and is the single largest modifiable risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia in the general population.