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The Effect of Noise Exposure on the Cervical Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential

Akin, Faith W.1,2; Murnane, Owen D.1,2; Tampas, Joanna W.1; Clinard, Christopher3; Byrd, Stephanie1; Kelly, J. Kip1

doi: 10.1097/AUD.0b013e3182498c5f
Research Articles
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Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of noise exposure on the cervical vestibular evoked myogenic potential (cVEMP) in individuals with asymmetric noise-induced sensorineural hearing loss (NIHL).

Design: A cross-sectional observational study was used to compare cVEMP characteristics in 43 individuals with a history of noise exposure greater in one ear (e.g., the left ear of a right-handed rifle shooter) and asymmetric sensorineural hearing loss consistent with the history of noise exposure and in 14 age-matched controls. The characteristics of hearing loss were examined further for the noise-exposed participants with abnormal cVEMPs and the noise-exposed participants with normal cVEMPs.

Results: Thirty-three percent of the noise-exposed participants had abnormal cVEMPs, whereas cVEMPs were present and symmetrical in 100% of the age-matched controls, and cVEMP threshold was greater in the noise-exposed group than in the control group. Abnormal cVEMPs occurred most often in the ears with poorer hearing (or greater NIHL), and the noise-exposed participants who had abnormal cVEMPs had poorer high-frequency pure-tone thresholds (greater NIHL) and greater interaural high-frequency pure-tone threshold differences than the noise-exposed participants with normal cVEMPs.

Conclusions: These findings are consistent with previous studies that suggest that the sacculocollic pathway may be susceptible to noise-related damage. There is emerging evidence that the severity of NIHL is associated with the presence or absence of cVEMPs.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of noise exposure on cervical vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (cVEMPs). cVEMPs were recorded in individuals with asymmetric sensorineural hearing loss consistent with a history of noise exposure that was greater in one ear and in age-matched controls. Of the noise-exposed participants, 33% had abnormal cVEMPs, whereas cVEMPs were present and symmetrical in all of the age-matched controls. Abnormal cVEMPs occurred most often in the ears with the greatest degree of noise-induced hearing loss. These findings are consistent with previous studies that suggest that the sacculocollic pathway may be suscepti-ble to noise-related damage.

1VA Medical Center, Mountain Home, Tennessee; 2Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee; and 3James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Presented at a poster session at the American Auditory Society Meeting, Scottsdale, Arizona, March 2011, and at a featured session at Audiology Now, Chicago, Illinois, April 2011.

This study was supported by a Merit Review (E3367R) to the first author and the Auditory and Vestibular Dysfunction Research Enhancement Award Program sponsored by the Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC.

The contents of this article do not represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs or of the U.S. Government.

Address for Correspondence: Faith W. Akin, Audiology (126), Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Mountain Home, TN 37684, USA. E-mail: faith.akin@va.gov

Received August 11, 2011

Accepted December 28, 2011

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.