Radiation therapy is effective in the treatment of various tumors of the head and neck. Clinical practice and published literature reveal contradictory opinions regarding the incidence, type, severity, and time of onset of hearing loss as a complication of radiation therapy. Review of animal and human studies highlights the paucity of scientifically defensible information. The available literature appears to support the contention that otitis media and sensorineural hearing loss can occur as complications during, or shortly following radiation therapy. However, there is little or no convincing evidence to support the notion that hearing loss developing several years following radiation is causally related to radiation therapy. Additional research is needed.
(C) 1994, The American Journal of Otology, Inc.