Hearing impairment and traumatic brain injury among soldiers: Special considerations for the audiologist

Paula J. Myers, Debra J. Wilmington, Frederick J. Gallun, James A. Henry, Stephen A. Fausti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The increased use of explosive devices and mines in warfare and excessive noise of weapons has created an unprecedented amount of auditory dysfunction among soldiers. Blast-related injuries may damage the auditory processing and/or balance centers resulting in hearing loss, dizziness, tinnitus, and/or central auditory processing disorders. Some also lead to traumatic brain injury (TBI), postconcussive syndrome (PCS), and/or posttraumatic stress disorder. Some PCS symptoms such as dizziness, loss of balance, hearing difficulty, and noise sensitivity also can signify auditory or vestibular dysfunction and should not be obscured with the PCS package. This article provides information about the mechanisms of blast injury with emphasis on auditory dysfunction and TBI. Audiologists must be prepared to identify those at risk for TBI or mental health problems and adapt audiologic clinical practices to this population. An interdisciplinary comprehensive evaluation of peripheral, central, and vestibular components of the auditory system should be employed in patients with TBI to ensure that auditory dysfunction is accurately diagnosed and that appropriate rehabilitation can be performed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-27
Number of pages23
JournalSeminars in Hearing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • Auditory dysfunction
  • Central auditory processing disorders
  • Polytrauma
  • Tinnitus
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Vestibular dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing


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