Audiological issues and hearing loss among Veterans with mild traumatic brain injury

Michael Oleksiak*, Bridget M. Smith, Justin R. St. Andre, Carly M. Caughlan, Monica Steiner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations

Abstract

We examined the prevalence, severity, etiology, and treatment of audiology problems among Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF) Veterans with mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). A retrospective chart review was performed of 250 Veterans with mild TBI. Results of a comprehensive second-level mild TBI evaluation and subsequent visits to audiology were evaluated. We found the vast majority (87%) of Veterans reported some level of hearing disturbance and those involved in blast injuries reported a higher incidence of hearing disturbance than those with other injury etiologies. Audiology referrals were given to 75 Veterans and 37 attended. At this visit, Veterans reported tinnitus (75.7%) and hearing loss (59.8%). Nearly half (48.6%) of Veterans were diagnosed with conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss, or central auditory dysfunction. An additional 24.3% of Veterans had subclinical levels of auditory dysfunction. Our study has highlighted the increased prevalence of hearing loss among OIF/OEF Veterans and, thus, the need for appropriate referrals and treatment. Strategies to address perceived stigma associated with hearing loss may increase attendance at follow-up visits. Additionally, while only a third of audiograms were found to be abnormal, advanced testing resulted in a significant percentage of our population being diagnosed with auditory dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)995-1004
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of rehabilitation research and development
Volume49
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

Keywords

  • Adult
  • Audiology
  • Auditory dysfunction
  • Blast injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Hearing
  • Hearing loss
  • MTBI
  • Tinnitus
  • Veterans
  • Wounds and injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation

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