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Affection of the middle ear after radiotherapy for head and neck tumors




The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of radiotherapy (RT) as one of the modalities of treatment in patients with head and neck tumors on the Eustachian tube and middle ear.

Study design

This is a prospective study.

Material and methods

This study included 20 patients suffering from squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck other than nasopharynx and parotid. They were treated either by surgery and postoperative radiotherapy or by primary radiotherapy alone or by concomitant chemoradiotherapy. Audiological evaluation was performed both pre-treatment and post- treatment in the form of pure tone threshold audiometry (PTA), tympanometry, stapedius acoustic reflex and eustachian tube (ET) function test.


The 20 patients corresponded to 40 ears which were analyzed. Post RT tympanometry done revealed 16 (40%) ears with normal type A tympanogram and 24 (60%) ears with abnormal tympanometry findings, Post RT ET function test done revealed 7 (17.5%) ears with good ET function and 33 (82.5%) with abnormal ET function, acoustic reflex done post RT revealed 36 (90%) ears with absent acoustic reflex bilaterally and 4 (10%) ears with preserved acoustic reflex and Post RT PTA done revealed 16 (40%) ears with normal PTA, 13 (32.5%) ears with conductive hearing loss (CHL), 8 (20%) ears with sensori neural hearing loss (SNHL) and 3 (7.5%) ears with mixed hearing loss.


Patients with head and neck tumors given RT as one of the modalities of treatment have a high incidence of affection of middle ear function and ET dysfunction as well as development of CHL.


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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hesham A. Fathy MD.

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None declared.

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Negm, H., Mosleh, M., Hosni, N. et al. Affection of the middle ear after radiotherapy for head and neck tumors. Egypt J Otolaryngol 30, 5–9 (2014).

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