Noise-Induced Hearing Injury among Army Active Duty Soldiers Deployed to the Central Command Area of Operations
A 2005 assessment of noise-induced hearing injury (NIHI) among Army audiology clinic patients seen between April 2003 and March 2004 found elevated rates of NIHI among soldiers returning from deployment. Because of study limitations, it was not possible to extrapolate the findings to the entire Army soldier population in relation to deployment status. We performed this study to determine patterns of NIHI incidence among soldiers as a function of deployment status and to determine the accuracy and completeness of provider use of NIHI-related ICD-9CM codes. These refinements to the 2005 study were made with the goal of developing a surveillance process compatible with emerging Defense Injury Surveillance processes. NIHI among soldiers diagnosed during admissions or outpatient visits from all clinics were evaluated for fiscal years 2003 through 2005. Deployment status to the Central Command Area of Operations was confirmed by referencing medical data to personnel data from two separate personnel data systems. The refined analysis demonstrated higher postdeployment rates of NIHI consistent with the previous analysis. Additionally, vertigo and imbalance disorders were evaluated. This study demonstrates the capability for noise injury surveillance to be integrated into an overall Department of Defense injury surveillance process and identifies additional measures to enhance this analytic process with further data integration and study.
from Seminars in Hearing