New research shows that sodium thiosulfate can help prevent hearing loss caused by cancer medication.
Cisplatin Causes Hearing Damage
Cisplatin is a chemotherapeutic agent and it is used to treat various kinds of cancer. It is extremely effective, and it can save lives. However, it also causes a number of complications.
Studies show that many people who are treated with cisplatin will experience hearing loss as a result. This is because it damages the sensory hair cells in the inner ear, making them less sensitive to soft noises.
The resulting hearing damage can be mild or severe, and it is usually worse for children. Some patients may lose their hearing completely. Cisplatin therapy can cause tinnitus as well.
How Can Sodium Thiosulfate Help?
Sodium thiosulfate is an antioxidant, and it is generally used to treat cyanide poisoning.
According to a study done between 2008 and 2012, sodium thiosulfate can help prevent hearing loss in children and adolescents who have gone through cisplatin treatment.
The study was fairly successful. Its participants were all aged 18 or younger.
Over half of the patients in the control group developed hearing loss due to cisplatin. But in the group that regularly used sodium thiosulfate in addition to cisplatin, this percentage was much lower: only 28.6 percent.
Sodium thiosulfate probably doesn’t make cancer treatment less effective. However, this question is very important, and researchers are still working on it.
Some Other Possible Solutions
There may be other ways of treating cisplatin damage. Selenium might be a good option, since it is a powerful antioxidant.
Some experts recommend sound conditioning. This is a treatment where doctors expose your inner ear to irritating levels of noise, which forces the hair cells to develop a defense mechanism.
Cochlear implants can also be a good solution, but only if the hearing loss is severe or complete.
Scientists still aren’t entirely sure why sodium thiosulfate can help prevent hearing loss, but they are getting closer to finding the answers. Medical science is an expanding field, and researchers will keep seeking out new solutions to both old and new problems.