Cancer in children is unimaginable, every parent’s nightmare. Having to watch your child go through chemotherapy is terrible enough without then also having to watch your child suffer from a hearing loss as a result. Unfortunately, this is all too familiar for families whose children have undergone platinum-based therapies.
This type of hearing loss is called ototoxicity (hearing loss caused by medication) and is irreversible. Many of these children require life-long hearing aids or expensive cochlear implants due to this type of treatment for pediatric cancer.
Infants and young children that suffer ototoxicity at critical stages of development are slow to develop speech/language and literacy. Older children and adolescents lack social-emotional development and educational achievement.
There is currently no established preventative agent for ototoxic hearing loss, but there is good news on the horizon. The Food and Drug Administration has granted a Priority Review for a New Drug Application for a chemoprotection drug, PEDMARK. (For the prevention of ototoxicity induced by cisplatin chemotherapy).
Erika Shakespeare CCC-A, Audiology & Hearing Aid Associates, is positive about this new drug saying, “When I worked at a hospital in Idaho, I monitored the hearing of young children that were on cisplatin (platinum-based) chemotherapeutics and watched as many developed precipitous hearing losses. It would be an amazing development to have a medication available that would disrupt the ototoxic effects of these life-saving drugs”.
Audiology & Hearing Aid Associates are excited to see the FDA fast-tracking the review of a promising intervention that could prevent hearing loss in sick children.