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Reversible conductive hearing impediments among patients with severe brain injury.

Authors
  • Cinamon, Udi1
  • Albukrek, Dov2
  • Dvir, David2
  • Marom, Tal3
  • 1 Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Edith Wolfson Medical Center, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Holon, Israel. , (Israel)
  • 2 Reuth Rehabilitation Hospital, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel. , (Israel)
  • 3 Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Assuta Ashdod University Hospital, Ashdod, Israel. , (Israel)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Disability and rehabilitation
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2020
Volume
42
Issue
22
Pages
3199–3202
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/09638288.2019.1588923
PMID: 30950659
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Purpose: Rehabilitation of patients with severe traumatic brain injury may include auditory stimuli. Hampering the function of the external, middle ear or Eustachian tube generates a conductive auditory deficit up to 35 dB that may potentially hinder auditory rehabilitation. The objective was to evaluate the incidence of conductive hearing impediments among patients with severe brain injury.Methods: The cross-section study included adults with severe brain injury hospitalized in a rehabilitation center. The patients presented with a prolonged vegetative state, were dependent on mechanical ventilation and gastrostomy tube feeding. Assessment of external, middle ear and Eustachian tube included otoscopy, tympanometry, nasopharyngoscopy, gag reflex and soft palate evaluations.Results: Nineteen patients (38 ears) were evaluated: 14 males and 5 females, aged 18-93 years (average 59). All patients had a normal nasopharynx, lacked a gag reflex, palatal movements or supraglottic sensation. Eighteen ears (47%) had middle ear effusion, 26 (68%) ears had cerumen impaction, and 14 (37%) had both.Conclusions: Many patients with severe brain injury have reversible and treatable impairments that cause potential conductive hearing loss. Routine otoscopic examination and treatment if required, that is, removal of impacted cerumen or middle ear drainage, have rehabilitating and general health benefits.Implications for rehabilitationAuditory stimulation was suggested for rehabilitation in patients with severe traumatic brain injury.Many patients have cerumen and/or otitis media with effusion causing conductive hearing impairment as well as general health issues.Both aural impediments are diagnosed by routine otoscopy, are easily treated, and may affect rehabilitation.

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