Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 49 Number 7, 2012
   Pages 1043 — 1058

Abstract — Blast exposure and dual sensory impairment: An evidence review and integrated rehabilitation approach

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Gabrielle H. Saunders, PhD;1* Katharina V. Echt, PhD2

1National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, Portland VA Medical Center, Portland, OR; and Department of Otolaryngology, Head, and Neck Surgery, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR; 2Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence and Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, Atlanta VA Medical Center, Decatur, GA; and Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA

Abstract — Combat exposures to blast can result in both peripheral damage to the ears and eyes and central damage to the auditory and visual processing areas in the brain. The functional effects of the latter include visual, auditory, and cognitive processing difficulties that manifest as deficits in attention, memory, and problem solving--symptoms similar to those seen in individuals with visual and auditory processing disorders. Coexisting damage to the auditory and visual system is referred to as dual sensory impairment (DSI). The number of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom Veterans with DSI is vast; yet currently no established models or guidelines exist for assessment, rehabilitation, or service-delivery practice. In this article, we review the current state of knowledge regarding blast exposure and DSI and outline the many unknowns in this area. Further, we propose a model for clinical assessment and rehabilitation of blast-related DSI that includes development of a coordinated team-based approach to target activity limitations and participation restrictions in order to enhance reintegration, recovery, and quality of life.

Key words: auditory training, blast exposure, blast injury, central auditory processing disorder, dual sensory impairment, rehabilitation, traumatic brain injury, veteran, visual processing disorder, visual training.


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

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

ResearcherID: Gabrielle H. Saunders, PhD: F-4768-2012

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Last Reviewed or Updated  Wednesday, October 24, 2012 1:16 PM

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