Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 53 Number 3, 2016
   Pages 295 — 306

Abstract — Development of a comprehensive Blast-Related Auditory Injury Database (BRAID)

Antony R. Joseph, AuD, PhD;1* Jaime L. Horton, MPH;2 Mary C. Clouser, MPH, PhD;2 Andrew J. MacGregor, PhD;2 Michelle Louie, BA;2 Michael R. Galarneau, MS, NREMT2

1Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit Five, San Diego, CA; 2Medical Modeling, Simulation, and Mission Support Department, Naval Health Research Center, San Diego, CA

Abstract — The Department of Defense Hearing Conservation Program provides specific guidance for service components to prevent occupational hearing loss; however, it does not specifically contend with the unique noise exposures observed in the theater of war, such as blasts and explosions. In order to examine the effects of blast injury on hearing sensitivity, we developed a large database composed of demographic, audiometric, point of injury, and medical outcome data, with the primary aim of developing a long-standing and integrated capability for the surveillance, assessment, and investigation of blast-related hearing outcomes. Methods used to develop the dataset are described. Encompassing more than 16,500 Navy and Marine Corps personnel, the Blast-Related Auditory Injury Database (BRAID) includes individuals with a blast-related injury and nonblast control subjects. Using baseline and postdeployment hearing threshold data, a retrospective analysis of the cohort revealed that the rate of hearing loss for the injured servicemembers was 39%. The BRAID will be useful for studies that assess hearing patterns following deployment-related injury, such as blast exposures, that facilitate exploration of health outcomes and whether they are predictive of audiometric disposition and that help establish hearing loss prevention strategies and program policies for affected military commands and servicemembers.

Key words: blast exposure, blast injury, Blast-Related Auditory Injury Database, BRAID, hearing conservation, hearing loss, noise exposure, noise-induced hearing loss, occupational hearing loss, servicemembers.

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This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Joseph AR, Horton JL, Clouser MC, MacGregor AJ, Louie M, Galarneau MR. Development of a comprehensive Blast-Related Auditory Injury Database (BRAID). J Rehabil Res Dev. 2016;53(3):295–306.
ORCID: Antony R. Joseph, AuD, PhD: 0000-0001-7740-620X; Jaime L. Horton, MPH: 0000-0001-9212-178X; Mary C. Clouser, MPH, PhD: 0000-0001-6929-4412
Abbreviations:AIS = Abbreviated Injury Scale, BRAID = Blast-Related Auditory Injury Database, DMDC = Defense Manpower Data Center, DOD = Department of Defense, DOEHRS = Defense Occupational and Environmental Health Readiness System, DOEHRS-DR = DOEHRS-Data Repository, DOEHRS-HC = DOEHRS-Hearing Conservation, EMED = Expeditionary Medical Encounter Database, HCP = Hearing Conservation Program, HL = hearing level, ICD-9 = International Classification of Diseases-9th Revision, LFPTA = low-frequency pure-tone average, MDR = Military Health System Data Repository, MTF = military treatment facility, NIHL = noise-induced hearing loss, OSHA = Occupational Safety and Health Administration, PTA = pure-tone average, SD = standard deviation, VA = Department of Veterans Affairs.
*Address all correspondence to Antony R. Joseph, AuD, PhD; Illinois State University, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Campus Box 4720, Normal, IL 61790; 309-438-7061; fax: 309-438-5221. Email:

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Last Reviewed or Updated  Tuesday, May 10, 2016 11:21 AM

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