Acute acoustic trauma: Dynamics of hearing loss following cessation of exposure

S. Segal, M. Harell, A. Shahar, M. Englender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The natural history of individuals with acute acoustic trauma who ceased to be exposed to impact noise was examined. Retrospective follow-up was carried out for 4 years on patients who were qualified as disabled following acoustic trauma with permanent threshold shift. Eight hundred forty-one individuals (1682 ears) were examined, of which 1514 ears with acoustic trauma were included in the study group; 150 individuals (300 ears) who continued to be exposed to impact noise even after discovery of acoustic trauma comprised the control group. In the latter, as long as exposure to gunfire continued, the severity of acoustic trauma increased. In the study group, during the first year after injury, changes were observed in hearing, whether improvement or deterioration; after this period, hearing loss appeared to be final. We suggest that, after 1 year following acute acoustic trauma, the associated hearing loss be considered as final, provided there is no further exposure to noise. This finding holds great importance from the medicolegal standpoint, an aspect that is unclear in the literature. It clarifies that beyond the period of 1 year after initial exposure, the pathologic process ceases (as long as there is no additional exposure to noise or gunfire). Further hearing deterioration beyond this period is not related to the initial acoustic trauma but rather to other factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-298
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Otology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


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