Objective: To report for the first time hearing impairment resulting from blunt neck trauma.
Study design: Retrospective chart review of clinical, pure tone, and speech audiometric findings. The first obtained within 3 months and the follow-up ones between 6 and 12 months after injury. Three representative examples are given.
Patients: Eighty-three patients (166 ears) who reported hearing impairment after blunt neck trauma.
Results: Twenty of the 166 ears (12%) had normal hearing and 137 ears (81.3%) showed an acoustic trauma-like hearing impairment. Eight ears (4.8%) had a hearing loss of at least 30 dB in the speech frequencies (500-2,000 Hz) and two ears (1.2%) had additional impairment in the higher frequencies. Only one ear (0.8%) had a conductive hearing loss. No speech discrimination score was poorer than 80%. Forty-six subjects (55.4%) reported tinnitus.
Conclusions: Blunt neck trauma, like whiplash injury, may cause objectively measurable hearing impairment.