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South African Journal of Communication Disorders

On-line version ISSN 2225-4765
Print version ISSN 0379-8046


EHLERT, Katerina; HEINZE, Barbara  and  SWANEPOEL, De Wet. Ototoxicity monitoring in South African cancer facilities: A national survey. S. Afr. J. Commun. Disord. [online]. 2022, vol.69, n.1, pp.1-10. ISSN 2225-4765.

BACKGROUND: National information regarding ototoxicity monitoring practices are limited for patients undergoing chemotherapy in South Africa. OBJECTIVES: To determine (1) the national status of ototoxicity monitoring implemented in private and public cancer facilities, (2) the knowledge and ototoxicity monitoring approaches implemented, and (3) reported challenges METHOD: A descriptive quantitative survey was conducted in public and private oncology units and audiology referral clinics. Private (60%) and public (43%) oncology units that provide platinum-based chemotherapy in South Africa and audiology referral units (54%) were: (1) surveyed telephonically to determine if ototoxicity monitoring takes place; and (2) a self-administered survey was sent to qualifying oncology units and audiology referral clinics RESULTS: All public oncology units reported that ototoxicity monitoring only occurs on referral and is not standard practice. All private oncology units indicated that monitoring is on a patient self-referral basis when symptoms occur. Poor awareness of ototoxicity monitoring best practice guidelines was reported by all oncology units and 14% of audiology referral clinics. Audiology referral clinics reported adequate knowledge of ototoxicity protocols although they are not widely used with only 43% following best practice guidelines. The most prominent challenges reported by participants was referral system (67% oncology units; 57% audiology referral clinics), environmental noise (83% oncology units; 86% audiology referral clinics) and the compromised status of cancer patients (67% oncology units; 57% audiology referral clinics CONCLUSION: Ototoxicity monitoring is not routinely implemented across oncology units in South Africa. Multidisciplinary teamwork and a simplified national ototoxicity monitoring protocol may improve hearing outcomes for patients

Keywords : ototoxicity; ototoxicity monitoring; ototoxicity monitoring protocols; cancer; oncology; hearing loss.

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