Last updated on December 2019

Blast Exposed Veterans With Auditory Complaints


Brief description of study

The purpose of this study is to study blast-exposed Veterans who report hearing handicap but show normal or near normal results on standard audiometric testing. The characteristics and nature of their auditory and auditory-related skills will be examined, along with whether coexisting PTSD contributes to the hearing problems of these Veterans. In a preliminary treatment study, a sub-sample of these Veterans will be fitted with mild-gain hearing aids to determine if they benefit from low-level amplification of high-frequency sounds.

Detailed Study Description

The purpose of this study is to study blast-exposed Veterans who report hearing handicap but show normal or near normal results on standard audiometric testing. The characteristics and nature of their auditory and auditory-related skills will be examined with a battery of behavioral and physiologic measures. The potential contributions of co-occurring PTSD also will be evaluated. In a preliminary treatment study, a sub-sample of the targeted Veterans will be fitted with mild-gain hearing aids to determine if they benefit from low-level amplification of high-frequency sounds.

This study consists of two parts. In Part 1, four groups of Veterans, aged 20 - 50 years, will complete a battery of auditory and auditory-related assessments to better understand the deficit sources and patterns. The assessment measures will consist of questionnaires, behavioral tests, and auditory physiologic measures. One group will consist of blast-exposed Veterans with auditory problems but no PTSD. The second group will consist of blast-exposed Veterans with auditory problems plus PTSD. The third group will consist of Veterans with PTSD but no reported auditory problems, and the fourth groups will be a normal control group.

In Part 2 of the study, 25 participants from group 1, and 25 participants from group 2 will be fitted with mild-gain open-fit hearing aids. Changes in hearing handicap, hearing aid benefit, hearing aid use time, intent to continue use, and speech perception will be measured over a 6-month period. A delayed treatment group populated from group 1 will be followed over a 12-month period with hearing aids fitted at 6 months. The participants will be assigned randomly from Part 1, but can decline participation.

The information obtained from this study will help us understand the auditory problems experienced by blast-exposed Veterans and eventually contribute to the development of an efficient and effective assessment battery and intervention approaches.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02122458

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