Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 49 Number 7, 2012
   Pages 995 — 1004

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


Michael Oleksiak;1-2* Bridget M. Smith, PhD;1-2 Justin R. St. Andre, MA;1 Carly M. Caughlan, AuD;3 Monica Steiner, MD4

1Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Management of Complex Chronic Care, Spinal Cord Injury Quality Enhancement Research Initiative, Edward Hines Jr VA Hospital, Hines, IL; 2Stritch School of Medicine, Program in Health Services Research, Loyola University Chicago, Maywood, IL; 3Audiology and 4Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Edward Hines Jr VA Hospital, Hines, IL

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.

Key words: adult, audiology, auditory dysfunction, blast injuries, brain injuries, hearing, hearing loss, mTBI, tinnitus, Veterans, wounds and injuries.

View HTML  ¦  View PDF  ¦  Contents Vol. 49, No. 7

This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Oleksiak M, Smith BM, St. Andre JR, Caughlan CM, Steiner M. Audiological issues and hearing loss among Veterans with mild traumatic brain injury. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2012;49(7):995-1004.


Last Reviewed or Updated  Wednesday, October 24, 2012 12:28 PM

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