Objective: The purpose of this investigation was to examine speeded performance over time and the impact of a common auditory distraction on performance after a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI).
Methods: Fourteen adults (ages 18-53) treated for a MTBI and 14 age and education-matched controls were asked to perform two speeded naming tasks. Both tasks were presented with or without the presence a common auditory distraction. The MTBI group was tested within 5 days, 30 days, 60 days, and 6 months postinjury. Latency (ms) and accuracy of response were recorded.
Results: Initially, the MTBI group demonstrated significantly longer response latencies and lower accuracy levels for both tasks. Similar results were found at 30 days postinjury. At 60 days postinjury, no significant difference was found for task 1 accuracy. Significant differences remained for task 1 latency, task 2 latency, and task 2 accuracy. At 6 months postinjury, no significant differences were found. The presence of an auditory distraction differentially affected the MTBI group for task 2 accuracy upon initial testing and at 30 days postinjury only.
Conclusions: The MTBI group performed both tasks significantly slower and less accurately than the control group upon initial testing and at 30 days postinjury. The presence of pop music further influenced accuracy of complex processing. At 60 days postinjury, accuracy of simple processing returned to preinjury levels and the auditory distraction no longer differentially influenced the MTBI group. All performance differences were resolved at 6 months postinjury.