Can Cystic Fibrosis Treatment Affect Your Hearing?

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition that affects the parts of the body that make mucus and sweat. CF has no cure and have severe impact on its sufferer’s ability to breathe. Sufferers from cystic fibrosis normally lead a challenging life that, unfortunately, often end early. Hearing loss is can be a side effect of Cystic Fibrosis, and certain CF treatments have the potential to damage your hearing. As Cystic Fibrosis creates long-term mucus build-up in the sinus cavities which creates a negative environment for hearing. On top of that, high doses of certain antibiotics used to treat infections can contribute to or cause hearing loss.

The Relationship Between Cystic Fibrosis & Hearing

Temporary hearing loss from Cystic Fibrosis

The nasal sinus cavity connects to your eardrum and Eustachian tube (middle ear) which creates a problem for sufferers of Cystic Fibrosis. Cystic Fibrosis creates thick, sticky mucus that builds up in the sinuses it can lead to acute sinusitis, among other serious conditions. Because of the connection between the ear and the sinuses, frequent ear infections are common that could lead to hearing problems that are generally temporary – i.e., get better when the infection is cleared away. Chronic sinus infections that last for months, however, can cause permanent hearing loss that is mild, moderate, or severe.

Permanent hearing loss and Cystic Fibrosis

While temporary hearing loss is a common problem in people with Cystic Fibrosis, but there is also a threat of permanent hearing loss too. CF patients are often treated with aminoglycoside antibiotics, such as tobramycin (Tobi, Bethkis and TobiPodhaler) which are powerful and life-saving. They come with side effects such as ototoxicity, or permanent hearing loss.

Prescribing antibiotics

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation put out a 2017 study that showed that CF patients had commonly received repeated, high doses of antibiotics intravenously that could correlate to permanent hearing loss in approximately 2.2% of cases. It is recommended that Cystic Fibrosis patients get regular hearing tests to screen for hearing loss, especially if they have taken the antibiotics that can lead to hearing damage.

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You can reach out to the caring and knowledgeable staff at Kenwood Hearing Center or schedule an appointment online. If you or a loved one are suffering from Cystic Fibrosis, we are here to answer all of your questions regarding your hearing aids and much more.

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