Development of a Comprehensive Blast-Related Auditory Injury Database (BRAID)
NAVAL HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER SAN DIEGO CA SAN DIEGO United States
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The Department of Defense Hearing Conservation Program provides specific guidance for service components to prevent occupational hearing loss however, it does not specifically contend with the unique noise exposures observed in the theater of war, such as blasts and explosions. In order to examine the effects of blast injury on hearing sensitivity, we developed a large database composed of demographic, audiometric, point of injury, and medical outcome data, with the primary aim of developing a long-standing and integrated capability for the surveillance, assessment, and investigation of blast-related hearing outcomes. Methods used to develop the dataset are described. Encompassing more than 16,500 Navy and Marine Corps personnel, the Blast-Related Auditory Injury Database BRAID includes individuals with a blast-related injury and nonblast control subjects. Using baseline and post deployment hearing threshold data, a retrospective analysis of the cohort revealed that the rate of hearing loss for the injured service members was 39 . The BRAID will be useful for studies that assess hearing patterns following deployment-related injury, such as blast exposures, that facilitate exploration of health outcomes and whether they are predictive of audiometric disposition and that help establish hearing loss prevention strategies and program policies for affected military commands and service members.