22 October 2018

Blasts injuries can result in a hearing loss

Blasts increase the risk of hearing loss and damaged hearing is one of the most common combat-related injuries among military personnel, a study shows.

An American study finds that male military personnel who have a blast-related injury are at much higher risk of hearing loss. The personnel with a blast-related injury had more than twice as high a risk of hearing loss as the personnel without a blast-related injury. There was an increased risk of both unilateral hearing loss and bilateral hearing loss. Most of the unilateral hearing losses in the study were on the left ear.

The study compared nearly 1,600 male military personnel who had a blast-related injury with those who had a non-blast-related injury.

Related to the blast

Among the group with a blast-related injury approximately 63% of hearing loss could be attributed directly to the blast-related injury event.

Blasts are commonly associated with noise-induced hearing loss and hearing-threshold shifts. Of the studied blast-related injuries, 82% were inflicted primarily by improvised explosive devices, 9% were inflicted by rockets or grenades and 8% were inflicted by mines or mortars.

About the study

The study consisted of 1,574 males employed in the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The participants were divided into two groups: One group consisted of 661 individuals who had a blast-related injury while the other group consisted of 913 individuals who had non-blast-related injury. All the participants were tested within 12 months prior to and following injury. The study was conducted from 2003 to 2012.

The study “Impact of blast injury on hearing in a screened male military population” was published in American Journal of Epidemiology in June 2017.

Source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov and American Journal of Epidemiology

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