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Interferon induced sudden hearing loss

With the increasing long-term use of interferon (IFN), several new adverse effects have been recognized. Very little attention, however, has been paid to auditory acuity. We encountered 3 cases of sudden hearing loss associated with IFN. We then conducted a prospective study to assess the auditory function of 73 patients receiving IFN.

Auditory disability (tinnitus and/or hearing loss) occurred in 32 patients (43.8%) during IFN therapy, among which audiometry documented sensorineural hearing loss in 27 cases (36.9%); 17 (48.6%) of the 35 patients receiving IFN-beta had auditory disability, including hearing loss in 13 cases (37.1%), and 15 (39.5%) of 38 patients receiving IFN-alpha suffered from auditory disability. There was not much difference between the influences of IFN-alpha and-beta. Auditory disability frequently developed in the later stages of treatment, and most patients recovered 7-14 days after the discontinuation of IFN. The results demonstrate that sudden hearing loss can occur as a side effect of treatment with IFN. This may reveal the association between autoimmunity and sudden hearing loss.

Author: Kanda Y; Shigeno K; Matsuo H; Yano M; Yamada N; Kumagami H
Address Department of Otolaryngology, Nagasaki University School of Medicine, Japan.
Source: Audiology, 34: 2, 1995 Mar-Apr, 98-102

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