Hearing profi le in hepatitis C virus patients under dual treatment with interferon and ribavirin

AL-SUNNI, M. O. H. A. M. E. D. I. B. R. A. H. I. M. S. H. A. B. A. N. A. A. M. A. N. I. A. H. M. E. D., A. R. Amer, A. O. Dabbous, and A. Al-sunni, "Hearing profi le in hepatitis C virus patients under dual treatment with interferon and ribavirin ", Audiological Medicine, , vol. 8, pp. 142-153, 2010.


Objective: To study the effect of dual therapy with interferon and ribavirin on hearing in chronic HCV patients treated with
these medications. Study design: This was a cross-sectional study in which assessment of hearing and cochlear function was
carried out using pure tone audiometry and transient otoacoustic emissions (TEOAEs). Thirty young-aged adult patients
with chronic active hepatitis C virus (HCV) received dual treatment with interferon and ribavirin for at least three months.
They were compared to 30 chronic HCV patients for whom treatment was not applicable. Results: HCV patients under
treatment exhibited a mild high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) in 63.3% of subjects (unilateral in 36.7%
and bilateral in 26.7% of subjects). HCV patients not receiving treatment showed SNHL, which was unilateral in 13.3%
of subjects. In HCV patients under treatment 33% of subjects had a bilateral TEOAE pass and 30% of subjects had a
unilateral pass (unilateral partial pass). The remaining 37% of subjects had a bilateral partial pass, compared to a bilateral
pass in 96.67% of subjects not receiving treatment. There was a statistically signifi cant difference between the two groups
with regard to the hearing threshold at different frequencies and TEOAE overall wave reproducibility in both ears. Normal
hearing ears of those with a unilateral SNHL showed a lower pass rate (27.3%) than those of the bilateral normal hearing
group (54.5%), which suggests subtle changes in their cochleae. Conclusion: Dual interferon and ribavirin therapy for HCV
patients could damage the cochlear outer or inner hair cells.
Key words: audiometry , hepatitis , interferon , ribavirin , transient evoked otoacoustic emissions