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VOLUME 6 , ISSUE 4 ( Number, 2014 ) > List of Articles


Effects of Radiotherapy on Auditory and Vestibular Function

Sachin Sharad Nilakhe

Citation Information : Nilakhe SS. Effects of Radiotherapy on Auditory and Vestibular Function. Int J Otorhinolaryngol Clin 2014; 6 (4):1-5.

DOI: 10.5005/aijoc-6-4-1

License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Published Online: 01-09-2012

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2014; The Author(s).



Radiotherapy either primary or adjuvant, is a commonly used modality of treatment in head and neck malignancies. The audiovestibular apparatus is often within the fields of radiation treatment, and hearing loss is a possible complication. This study was undertaken to assess the audiovestibular functions in patients undergoing radiation therapy for head and neck malignancies to determine the type and severity of hearing loss and vestibular dysfunction following radiation therapy.

Materials and methods

Fifty patients with head and neck malignancies reported to the malignant disease treatment center of INHS Asvini and received radiotherapy as a primary modality of treatment or in combination with surgery during the period May 2003 to Sep 2004 were included in this study. None of these patients had prior treatment by chemotherapy.


A significant number of patients who were subjected to radiation therapy for head and neck malignancies develop conductive hearing loss is predominant in the immediate postradiation period. Conductive hearing loss is reversible and improves with the conservative line of treatment. Sensorineural hearing loss more commonly affects the higher frequencies and is more common in older patients. Sensorineural hearing loss is more common when radiation doses exceed 60 Gy. There is no conclusive evidence of vestibular dysfunction in patients undergoing radiotherapy for head and neck cancers.

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