Baseline vestibular and auditory findings in a trial of post-concussive syndrome

Undersea Hyperb Med. Aug-Sept 2016;43(5):567-584.


Previous studies have reported high rates of auditory and vestibular-balance deficits immediately following head injury. This study uses a comprehensive battery of assessments to characterize auditory and vestibular function in 71 U.S. military service members with chronic symptoms following mild traumatic brain injury that did not resolve with traditional interventions. The majority of the study population reported hearing loss (70%) and recent vestibular symptoms (83%). Central auditory deficits were most prevalent, with 58% of participants failing the SCAN3:A screening test and 45% showing abnormal responses on auditory steady-state response testing presented at a suprathreshold intensity. Only 17% of the participants had abnormal hearing (⟩25 dB hearing loss) based on the pure-tone average. Objective vestibular testing supported significant deficits in this population, regardless of whether the participant self-reported active symptoms. Composite score on the Sensory Organization Test was lower than expected from normative data (mean 69.6 ±vestibular tests, vestibulo-ocular reflex, central auditory dysfunction, mild traumatic brain injury, post-concussive symptoms, hearing15.6). High abnormality rates were found in funduscopy torsion (58%), oculomotor assessments (49%), ocular and cervical vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (46% and 33%, respectively), and monothermal calorics (40%). It is recommended that a full peripheral and central auditory, oculomotor, and vestibular-balance evaluation be completed on military service members who have sustained head trauma.

Trial registration: NCT01611194.

Keywords: vestibular tests; vestibulo-ocular reflex; central auditory dysfunction; mild traumatic brain injury; post-concussive symptoms; hearing.

Associated data