A systematic review on the effect of low-dose radiation on hearing

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Radiation and Environmental Biophysics


Numerous studies have documented the adverse effects of high-dose radiation on hearing in patients. On the other hand, radiographers are exposed to a low dose of ionizing radiation, and the effect of a low dose of radiation on hearing is quite abstruse. Therefore, the present systematic review aimed to elucidate the effect of low-dose ionizing radiation on hearing. Two authors independently carried out a comprehensive data search in three electronic databases, including PUBMED/MEDLINE, CINAHL, and SCOPUS. Eligible articles were independently assessed for quality by two authors. Cochrane Risk of Bias tool was used assess quality of the included studies. Two articles met the low-dose radiation exposure criteria given by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP) guidelines. Both studies observed the behavioral symptoms, pure-tone hearing sensitivity at the standard, extended high frequencies, and the middle ear functioning in low-dose radiation-exposed individuals and compared with age and gender-matched controls. One study assessed the cochlear function using transient-evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAE). Both studies reported that behavioral symptoms of auditory dysfunction and hearing thresholds at extended high frequencies were higher in radiation-exposed individuals than in the controls. The current systematic review concludes that the low-dose ionizing radiation may affect the hearing adversely. Nevertheless, further studies with robust research design are required to explicate the cause and effect relationship between the occupational low-dose ionizing radiation exposure and hearing.

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