Original Research

Perspectives and practices of ototoxicity monitoring

Jessica Paken, Cyril D. Govender, Mershen Pillay, Vikash Sewram
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 67, No 1 | a685 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v67i1.685 | © 2020 Jessica Paken, Cyril D. Govender, Mershen Pillay, Vikash Sewram | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 October 2019 | Published: 19 May 2020

About the author(s)

Jessica Paken, Discipline of Audiology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Cyril D. Govender, Discipline of Audiology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Mershen Pillay, Discipline of Audiology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Vikash Sewram, African Cancer Institute, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Treatment of cancer with cisplatin can result in hearing loss. Given the increasing burden of cancer in Africa, appropriate and timely identification, intervention and management of hearing loss in affected patients is of paramount importance.

Objectives: This study describes the perspectives and practices of healthcare professionals in relation to cisplatin-associated ototoxicity at an institution treating patients diagnosed with cancer.

Method: A concurrent triangulation study design was used to collect quantitative data from seven oncologists, nine nurses and 13 pharmacists using self-administered questionnaires, and qualitative data from four audiologists through semi-structured interviews for this hospital-based study, conducted in South Africa.

Results: Levels of awareness of cisplatin-associated ototoxicity varied with only 33% of the nursing personnel being aware in comparison to the oncologists and pharmacists. Oncologists were identified as the main custodians for providing information to patients. Whilst 82% of the participants considered the audiologist to be part of the oncology team, there was no provision for ototoxicity monitoring in the chemotherapy protocols, nor any ototoxicity-monitoring programme in place. There was no evidence that knowledge of cisplatin-associated ototoxicity translated into an appropriate management strategy for such patients.

Conclusion: Healthcare personnel overseeing the care and management of cancer patients need to improve their awareness of ototoxicity and refer timeously for audiological evaluation. Audiologists require greater awareness of monitoring programmes to appropriately implement and manage such programmes within a cancer platform and be part of a multidisciplinary team.


Keywords

awareness; cisplatin; South Africa; ototoxicity; cervical cancer; healthcare personnel.

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