What is the Impact of Tinnitus on Military Personnel?

Research Paper Title

Impact of Tinnitus on Military Service Members.

Background

The Noise Outcomes in Servicemembers Epidemiology (NOISE) Study is obtaining longitudinal data to evaluate the effects of noise and other exposures on auditory function in military personnel.

A gap in the literature is the lack of studies concerning how active-duty Service members might be impacted by having tinnitus.

The present study reports NOISE Study data that address this gap.

Methods

Data are reported from current Service members and recently-separated (within 2.5 years) Veterans, enabling a direct comparison of results between active and post-military samples.

Data were collected from two sites:

  • VA Portland Health Care System, Portland, OR; and
  • Department of Defence Hearing Centre of Excellence, San Antonio, TX.

Participants completed comprehensive audiometric testing and numerous questionnaires.

Results

Results are presented from n = 428 participants across the two sites, including 246 Veterans and 182 Service members.

The data reveal that, for both Service members and Veterans, the presence of tinnitus has effects on job performance, concentration, anxiety, depression, and sleep.

Conclusions

This study has revealed that, for these samples of study participants, tinnitus has an impact on military Service members that is comparable to how it affects Veterans who have completed their military service within the previous 2.5 years.

Reference

Henry, J.A., Griest, S.E., Blankenship, C., Thielman, E.J., Theodoroff, S.M., Hammill, T. & Carlson, K.F. (2019) Impact of Tinnitus on Military Service Members. Military Medicine. 184(Suppl 1), pp.604-614. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usy328.

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