Sensitivity to Noise Following a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Longitudinal Study

J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2021 Sep-Oct;36(5):E289-E301. doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000645.


Objective: To describe changes in the prevalence and clinical correlates of noise sensitivity (NS) in mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) across a 12-month period and to determine whether NS at an early stage of recovery has predictive value for later postconcussive symptoms.

Setting: A mixed urban and rural region of New Zealand.

Participants: Data for 341 adults (201 males, 140 females; age range from 16 to 91 years) were extracted from a 1-year TBI incidence, and outcomes study was conducted in New Zealand.

Design: Secondary analysis of data from a community-based, longitudinal population study of an mTBI incidence cohort collected within 1 week of injury (baseline) and at 1, 6, and 12 months postinjury.

Main measures: Measures at baseline (within 2 weeks of the injury) and 1, 6, and 12 months included the Rivermead Post-concussion Symptoms Questionnaire and its NS item, the Hospital Depression and Anxiety Scale, and the computerized CNS-Vital Signs neurocognitive test.

Results: NS progressively declined postinjury, from 45% at baseline to 28% at 12 months. In turn, NS showed itself as a significant predictor of future postconcussive symptoms.

Conclusion: Taken together with previous research, the findings of the current study indicate that NS may have clinical utility in flagging vulnerability to persistent postconcussive symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Concussion* / diagnosis
  • Brain Concussion* / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome* / epidemiology
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome* / etiology
  • Young Adult