Ethics. Research. Community.

Blast injury of the ear: clinical update from the global war on terror.

Military medicine. 
[Record Source: PubMed]
The purpose of this study was to describe the effects of blast exposure on hearing status. This study retrospectively analyzed hearing thresholds and otologic complaints for >250 patients with blast-related injuries from the global war on terror. Of patients who received full diagnostic evaluations, 32% reported a history of tympanic membrane perforation, 49% experienced tinnitus, 26% reported otalgia (ear pain), and 15% reported dizziness. Expected hearing thresholds were computed by applying age-correction factors to hearing tests performed earlier in the service members' careers and before their most recent deployment. Expected hearing thresholds were significantly better than actual postdeployment thresholds, indicating that significant changes occurred in the patients' hearing that could not be accounted for by age. Results from this study underline the need for documentation of pre-and postdeployment hearing tests and prompt otologic evaluation for the blast-exposed population.
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