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The HEAR trial is launched

Our hearing is an important companion in everyday life. It is what makes it possible for us to have a conversation with our friends, learn new languages and listen to our favourite music. Many of us take all these things for granted. However, children and adolescents can suffer from poorer hearing after cancer treatment. This is because certain medications and irradiation of the head can damage their hearing. Poorer hearing is often noticed during cancer treatment, but in some cases it does not develop until the children become adults. Therefore, regular hearing tests are recommended once particular cancer therapies have been concluded.

Together with survivors, representatives of the medical profession and researchers, the Paediatric Cancer Epidemiology Group at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM), University of Bern, has launched what is called the HEAR trial. This offers young adults a free hearing test near where they live, carried out in the local outlet of a hearing aid provider. The result is then handed over to the trial participant and can be discussed with an attending physician, for example the family doctor, if necessary.

The aim of the HEAR trial is to find out whether such hearing tests could be helpful in the long-term follow-up care of former childhood cancer patients. The data from this trial will also be evaluated for research into late effects after cancer therapy. The knowledge gained will make an important contribution to improving cancer therapy and follow-up care.