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Reference ranges and stability of auditory and vestibular measures in a comprehensive assessment battery for traumatic brain injury

Background: Audiology clinics have many tools available to evaluate auditory and vestibular complaints. However, many tools lack established normative ranges across the life span. We conducted this study to establish reference ranges across the life span for audiology/ vestibular measures commonly used to evaluate patients with traumatic brain injury.

Materials and Methods: In this repeated measures study, 75 adults, ages 18-65 years, without a history of traumatic brain injury, underwent robust auditory/vestibular evaluations three times over six months, including rotational chair, videonystagmography, computerized dynamic posturography, vestibular evoked myogenic potentials, and retinal fundoscopy.

Results: Age effect was notable for transient evoked otoacoustic emissions, pure-tone audiometry, auditory brainstem response, auditory middle latency response, and auditory-steady state response at 4000 hertz (Hz). Older participants (50-65 years) were more likely to have delayed latency horizontal saccades, positional nystagmus, slowed lower-extremity motor control responses, and delayed latency ocular vestibular evoked myogenic potentials. Low to mid-frequency horizontal (0.003-4 Hz) and mid-frequency vertical (1-3 Hz) vestibulo-ocular reflex, otolith-mediated reflexes, dynamic visual acuity and balance measures were generally not influenced by age. Females had larger static subjective visual testing offset angles, longer cervical vestibular evoked myogenic potential P1 latency, faster velocity horizontal saccades, and quicker motor control latency for large backward translations than age-matched males.

Conclusion: These reference ranges can be used to discern impairment within the auditory and vestibular pathway following traumatic brain injury in young to middle-aged adults.

DOI: 10.22462/13.15.2019.2

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