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Hearing loss in the trenches - a hidden morbidity of World War I.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

One hundred years ago, millions of British and Allied troops were fighting in the trenches of the Great War. With a tenth of soldiers losing their lives, hearing loss seemed a low priority; however, vast numbers of troops sustained significant hearing loss.

METHOD

A review was conducted of literature published between 1914 and 1925.

RESULTS

Soldiers were exposed to up to 185 dB of sustained noise from new, high-energy weapons, which caused 'labyrinthine concussion'. Traumatic injuries, non-organic hearing loss and malingering were also common. One source estimated that 2.4 per cent of the army was disabled by hearing loss. However, many British doctors viewed this 'soldier's deafness' as a temporary affliction, resulting in soldiers being labelled as malingerers or 'hysterical'.

CONCLUSION

Today, one can recognise that a scant evidence base and misconceptions influenced the mismanagement of hearing loss by otolaryngologists in World War I. However, noise-induced hearing loss is still very much a feature of armed conflict.

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  • Publisher Full Text
  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Department of Otolaryngology,Royal Preston Hospital,UK.

    Department of Otolaryngology,Blackpool Victoria Hospital,UK.

    Source

    The Journal of laryngology and otology 132:11 2018 Nov pg 952-955

    MeSH

    Health Status
    Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced
    Humans
    Military Personnel
    World War I

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Review

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    30370887

    Citation

    Conroy, K, and V Malik. "Hearing Loss in the Trenches - a Hidden Morbidity of World War I." The Journal of Laryngology and Otology, vol. 132, no. 11, 2018, pp. 952-955.
    Conroy K, Malik V. Hearing loss in the trenches - a hidden morbidity of World War I. J Laryngol Otol. 2018;132(11):952-955.
    Conroy, K., & Malik, V. (2018). Hearing loss in the trenches - a hidden morbidity of World War I. The Journal of Laryngology and Otology, 132(11), pp. 952-955. doi:10.1017/S0022215118001755.
    Conroy K, Malik V. Hearing Loss in the Trenches - a Hidden Morbidity of World War I. J Laryngol Otol. 2018;132(11):952-955. PubMed PMID: 30370887.
    * Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
    TY - JOUR T1 - Hearing loss in the trenches - a hidden morbidity of World War I. AU - Conroy,K, AU - Malik,V, Y1 - 2018/10/29/ PY - 2018/10/30/pubmed PY - 2018/12/29/medline PY - 2018/10/30/entrez KW - Noise-Induced KW - Sensorineural KW - Suppurative KW - Hearing Loss KW - Otitis Externa KW - Otitis Media KW - Warfare SP - 952 EP - 955 JF - The Journal of laryngology and otology JO - J Laryngol Otol VL - 132 IS - 11 N2 - BACKGROUND: One hundred years ago, millions of British and Allied troops were fighting in the trenches of the Great War. With a tenth of soldiers losing their lives, hearing loss seemed a low priority; however, vast numbers of troops sustained significant hearing loss. METHOD: A review was conducted of literature published between 1914 and 1925. RESULTS: Soldiers were exposed to up to 185 dB of sustained noise from new, high-energy weapons, which caused 'labyrinthine concussion'. Traumatic injuries, non-organic hearing loss and malingering were also common. One source estimated that 2.4 per cent of the army was disabled by hearing loss. However, many British doctors viewed this 'soldier's deafness' as a temporary affliction, resulting in soldiers being labelled as malingerers or 'hysterical'. CONCLUSION: Today, one can recognise that a scant evidence base and misconceptions influenced the mismanagement of hearing loss by otolaryngologists in World War I. However, noise-induced hearing loss is still very much a feature of armed conflict. SN - 1748-5460 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/30370887/Hearing_loss_in_the_trenches_-_a_hidden_morbidity_of_World_War_I L2 - https://www.cambridge.org/core/product/identifier/S0022215118001755/type/journal_article DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -