HealthDay News — Severe hearing impairment (HI) in childhood cancer survivors is associated with neurocognitive deficits, according to a study recently published in JAMA Oncology.

Johnnie K. Bass, PhD, from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and colleagues assessed hearing and neurocognitive function in 1520 long-term survivors of childhood cancer (5 or more years) participating in the St. Jude Lifetime Cohort Study (April 25, 2007, to June 30, 2017).

The researchers found that the prevalence and risk for severe HI among survivors were higher in those exposed to platinum-only (relative risk [RR], 1.68; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.20 to 2.37) or cochlear radiotherapy (RR, 2.69; 95% CI, 2.02 to 3.57) vs the no-exposure group. There was an association between severe HI and deficits in verbal reasoning skills (no-exposure group: RR, 1.11; 95% CI, 0.50 to 2.43; platinum-only exposure group: RR, 1.93; 95% CI, 1.21 to 3.08; cochlear radiotherapy exposure group: RR, 2.00; 95% CI, 1.46 to 2.75), verbal fluency (no-exposure group: RR, 1.86; 95% CI, 1.19 to 2.91; platinum-only exposure group: RR, 1.83; 95% CI, 1.24 to 2.71; cochlear radiotherapy exposure group: RR, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.09 to 1.94), visuomotor speed (no-exposure group: RR, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.07 to 3.25; platinum-only exposure group: RR, 3.10; 95% CI, 1.92 to 4.99; cochlear radiotherapy exposure group: RR, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.11 to 1.78), and mathematics skills (no-exposure group: RR, 1.90; 95% CI, 1.18 to 3.04; platinum-only exposure group: RR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.05 to 2.53; cochlear radiotherapy exposure group: RR, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.15 to 2.18) vs survivors with normal hearing or with mild HI.

“Early screening and intervention for HI may facilitate the development
and maintenance of neurocognitive function and identify individuals at risk for impairment,” the authors write.

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One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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