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Hearing loss in the trenches - a hidden morbidity of World War I.
J Laryngol Otol 2018; 132(11):952-955JL

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.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Otolaryngology,Royal Preston Hospital,UK.Department of Otolaryngology,Blackpool Victoria Hospital,UK.

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 - 2018/10/30/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 -