July 27, 2009

Review of Blast-Related Ear Injury in Current United States Military Operations: Role of Audiologists on the Interdisciplinary Team

The article opens up with the author, Col. Chandler breaking down the statistics of blast-related inquiries and how they affect the soldier and the history of combat wounded, survivability and the latest advances in armor protective gear and medical advances. The survival rate of the wounded has risen to 88%, up from 78% from the first Gulf War. About 68% of the wounded have a blast-related injury, since the leading weapon in the enemies arsenal is the improvised explosive device (IED). With the new technology and the latest in medical advances, more soldiers survive their wounds.

The article opens well, but then starts to cite data from two research articles that seem to conflict with his presentation of the facts as it relates to blast injuries in the ear. The one articles talks about speech language pathologist receiving referrals and the breakdown of statistics related to such. Then he moves on to the other article that relates the findings of audiologist’s research concerning statistics on actual hearing loss, types and percentages. The article only gives the percentages and does not compare or contrast the meaning of the research or make any connections to the same. I would assume that the intended reader would be audiologist and related professionals, as they would able to ascertain the meaning of the data.

The author is a colonel in the Army and states his language succinct and unapologetically sterile, typical of a career military person. To his credit, in the middle of the article he touches on the difficulties and possibilities of misdiagnosing hearing loss as an affect related to a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or psychological problems. Then he goes on to explain how the military interdisciplinary team works together to prevent such misattributions and diagnoses. While he does nothing to add to the racial and cultural sensitivities, his writing stems from the perspective of an officer and expounds in a manner of expertise.

Surprisingly the article has significant relevance to profession of social work in that the articles viewpoint has a holistic approach to meeting the needs of the wounded soldiers. The article may endeavor the social worker working in hospitals in not assuming a symptom fits a certain bias and to consider other possible considerations.

One final critique, the article falls flat at the end where the military has in the last decade has cut funding to hearing conservation, even after the research had proven that the program worked. As a result we have seen a marked increase in soldiers and veterans with hearing problems that tend to plague them in later years as most hearing problems increase over the years. Col. Chandler presents the initial information in an upbeat manor and then gives a dreary outlook as the increase of blast-related ear injuries will continually add to the already overburdened Veterans Administration.

Chandler, D. (2006). Blast-related ear injury in current U. S. military operations: Role of audiology on the interdisciplinary team. The ASHA Leader, 11(9), 8-29, 3pp.

1 comment:

  1. Go to the Hell and esperate you would have more illness and more serious pathologies.
    Identify yourself as a mantal patient.


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