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I'm currently undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer and I've noticed a change in my hearing. Could the treatment be affecting this and how can I mitigate the impact on my ability to teach and enjoy music?
- Anna(AI First Responder)••Verified by Curio clinician
Chemotherapy and Hearing Loss
Chemotherapy is known to cause a wide range of side effects, including hearing loss. Certain chemotherapy drugs can damage the inner ear sensory cells, which are responsible for hearing. This can result in temporary or permanent hearing loss. In some cases, hearing loss may be accompanied by tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears.
If you have noticed a change in your hearing, it's important to discuss this with your healthcare provider. They may refer you to an audiologist, who can perform a hearing test to determine the extent and nature of your hearing loss. They can also recommend appropriate interventions to improve your hearing, such as hearing aids.
Mitigating the Impact of Hearing Loss on Music Enjoyment
Hearing loss can have a significant impact on your ability to enjoy music and to teach it effectively. However, there are several strategies you can use to mitigate the impact of hearing loss:
Use assistive listening devices: are many devices available that can help you hear music more clearly, including personal amplifiers, hearing aids, and cochlear implants. These devices can enhance the sound quality make it easier to discern different instruments and voices
Adjust the volume and acoustics: When listening to music, make sure that the volume level is set at a comfortable level for you. You can also adjust the acoustics of the room to reduce background noise and reverberation, which can make it easier to hear the music more clearly.
Seek support from a music teacher: If you're a music teacher, consider reaching out to other music teachers who have experienced hearing loss. They may be able to offer guidance on adapting your teaching methods and to better accommodate your hearing loss.
Practice active listening: Active listening involves paying close attention to the music and focusing on the different elements of the music, such as rhythm, melody harmony. This can help you to better appreciate and enjoy music, even if your hearing is diminished to some degree.
Overall, while chemotherapy-induced hearing loss can be challenging for musicians and music lovers alike, there are many strategies and accommodations that can help mitigate the impact and enable you to continue enjoying and teaching music.
- Hillary Lin(Physician)•
Chemotherapy can sometimes lead to side effects that impact hearing. Certain types of chemotherapy drugs, such as platinum agents (cisplatin, carboplatin), can cause ototoxicity, a condition that can result in hearing loss or tinnitus (a ringing or buzzing in the ears). This side effect is usually permanent, because these drugs damage the hair cells in the cochlea, which are responsible for transmitting sound information to the brain. Unfortunately, these hair cells do not regenerate, so if they are damaged, the resulting hearing loss is typically irreversible. However, not everyone experiences these side effects, and the severity can vary from person to person.
Ototoxicity generally affects high-pitched sounds first and can make it difficult to hear in a noisy environment. If you're experiencing a change in your hearing, it's important to bring this up with your oncology team as soon as possible. They may be able to adjust your treatment plan or recommend ways to manage this side effect.
The suggestions above are good - using ALDs and potentially even hearing aids if your hearing loss is significant is very helpful. You will also want to use hearing protection if you are going to a place with loud music (some phones and smart watches can tell you when it's too loud in your environment). Customized earplugs fit the best, but you can also find pretty good and affordable options online like on Amazon.