Many veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom were injured by blasts. Blasts cause many types of injuries that arise from underpressurization of air; flying debris; the body being thrown by the blast wave; and factors such as inhalation of toxic fumes, burns, and crush injuries. In this article, we discuss the effects of closed-head brain injuries that arise primarily from the blast wave. Damage to the brain can be widespread, and new data show it often appears to cause damage to the auditory and visual processing areas in the brain. In turn, this causes problems with hearing and seeing that are different from typical hearing loss and vision loss in that the servicemember or veteran often has “normal” hearing thresholds and normal visual acuity but reports problems hearing in noisy places, understanding speech when it is spoken quickly, reading, and maintaining attention. People with combined hearing and vision deficits have dual sensory impairment (DSI). There is currently a dearth of research regarding the best ways to assess, treat, measure, and rehabilitate individuals with DSI. This article presents a review of the current state of knowledge regarding blast exposure and DSI and also outlines existing gaps in knowledge regarding assessment, rehabilitation, and clinical service models for addressing blast-related DSI.
Volume 49 Number 7, 2012
Pages 1043 — 1058
This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Saunders GH, Echt KV. Blast exposure and dual sensory impairment: An evidence review and integrated rehabilitation approach. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2012;49(7):1043-58. http://dx.doi.org/10.1682/JRRD.2010.08.0157
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Last Reviewed or Updated Wednesday, October 24, 2012 12:18 PM