By Elliott Kozin, M.D.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major public health issue and contributes to injury-related morbidity and mortality worldwide. The estimated economic cost of TBI is estimated to be in excess of $76 billion per year in the United States. Unfortunately, the health effects of TBI are profound. TBI can lead to chronic and debilitating physical and psychosocial symptoms, such as loss of cognitive, sensory, and psychological function. Auditory and vestibular dysfunction has long been recognized as a consequence of head injury, including TBI.
In our research “Patient‐Reported Auditory Handicap Measures Following Mild Traumatic Brain Injury,” published in The Laryngoscope, we examined auditory complaints following traumatic brain injury, as well as changes that occur to the peripheral vestibular system in the postmortem setting. In patients with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), we used patient-reported outcome measures to assess auditory complaints. The team found that auditory symptoms and associated handicap were common in patients with non-blast mTBI.
For another paper in The Laryngoscope, “Peripheral Vestibular Organ Degeneration After Temporal Bone Fracture: A Human Otopathology Study,” we evaluated postmortem specimens from the National Temporal Bone Pathology Registry with head injury. In a cohort of patients with temporal bone fractures, there were distinct peripheral vestibular changes. Collectively, these findings have implications for the pathophysiology and management of symptoms in this patient population.
Elliott Kozin, M.D., is a neurotology fellow at Eaton Peabody Laboratories, Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Harvard Medical School, and a 2018 Emerging Research Grants recipient generously funded by the General Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons International.