Hearing loss after chemo and/or one dose of bisphosphonates

Hi!  I’ve just been diagnosed with Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss, which occurred just 3 weeks after my final chemotherapy cycle.  I was making a good recovery, then woke up one morning with severe dizziness, vertigo, vomiting, total hearing loss in one ear, some loss in the other ear, and tinnitus. Thanks to my brilliant GP, I got anti-sickness medication and steroids later the same day, and three months on, my balance is back to normal.  However, I’m left with 75-80% hearing loss in my left ear, 15-20% loss in my right, and tinnitus in both ears - and it’s looking like this may be permanent.


My ENT consultant has described my condition as ‘idiopathic’ - of unknown cause - and says there’s nothing they can do to restore my hearing, other than provide me with a hearing aid.  And because the cause is unknown, it’s my decision whether to continue with the bisphosphonates, and possibly risk further deterioration in my hearing.


So it would be really useful to share experiences with anyone else who may have experienced any hearing loss after:

  • having FEC (Fluorouracil, Epirubicin and Cyclophosphamide) chemotherapy, and/or
  • wearing a ‘cold cap’ to prevent hair loss, and/or
  • having Zoledronic acid (Bisphosphonates) to help prevent cancer from returning.


It’s a bit of a ‘double whammy’ for me, so soon after two lots of surgery, and then finally finishing chemo – but hey, I’ve survived cancer, and I’ve still got one ear that’s working ok, so I’m not complaining (much!) But if you have any thoughts, experiences or questions, please let me know, it would be great to hear from you!

Hi j.reynolds958,

I am sorry to hear you’re experiencing some hear loss. I am sure some of our users will be along to share their experiences and show their support soon. 

In the meantime you can always post on our Ask the Nurse board or call our helpline on 0808 800 6000, who will be able to talk you through any questions you have and offer a friendly ear. The opening hours are below:

Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm
Late opening Wednesday, 9am-7pm
Saturday, 9am-1pm

Best wishes,