A new grading system for ototoxicity in adults.



Grades 1 and 2 were based on threshold shifts from baseline (in dB) and subjective complaints. Grades 3 and 4 were defined as treatment-induced hearing loss of ≥ 35 dB at PTA 1-2-4 kHz and ≥ 70 dB at PTA 1-2-4 kHz, respectively. In high-dose cisplatin CRT incidences by the new criteria, CTCAEv4 and ASHA were comparable (78%-88%). In RT and low-dose cisplatin CRT, incidences were 36% to 39% in the new criteria versus 22% to 53% in CTCAEv4 and ASHA.


Pure tone averages (PTAs) for speech perception (1-2-4 kHz) and ultra-high frequencies (8-10-12.5 kHz) were incorporated. Threshold shift and hearing level posttreatment were taken into account. Criteria were tested on head and neck cancer patients treated with (chemo-)radiotherapy ([C]RT) and compared with the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 4 (CTCAEv4) and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association criteria (ASHA).


The new criteria show an increased sensitivity to ototoxicity compared to CTCAEv4 and ASHA and provide insight into the effect of hearing loss on certain daily life situations. The new grading system seems feasible for clinic and research purposes.


This study aimed to propose an ototoxicity grading system sensitive to the effect of ototoxicity on specific daily life situations like speech intelligibility and the perception of ultra-high sounds and to test its feasibility compared to current criteria.

More about this publication

The Annals of otology, rhinology, and laryngology
  • Volume 123
  • Issue nr. 10
  • Pages 711-8
  • Publication date 01-10-2014

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