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Boston Marathon Bombing Survivors Now Battling Hearing Loss

by April Maguire

In the wake of last April’s tragic Boston Marathon bombing, three people lost their lives and countless others suffered from debilitating physical and psychological injuries. Now, more than a year later, researchers are finding yet another consequence of these terrible attacks; according to a recent study out of Harvard Medical School. Many spectators and runners suffered from hearing loss as a result of the blasts.

Understanding the Study

Conducted by researchers at Harvard, the study assessed hearing and ear injuries among victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Of the 94 adults and children assessed, almost all enjoyed good hearing prior to suffering ear injuries in the tragedy. While ruptured eardrums were the most common causes of hearing loss among participants, other common issues included persistent tinnitus and dizziness.

Overall 38 percent of the patients with eardrum damage healed on their own, while others endured surgery and other therapies in an effort to reverse their hearing loss. Still others were left suffering from permanent hearing damage after the Marathon attacks. The results of the study were published in the medical journal Otology & Neurotology.

The Harvard study is something of a rarity in the US, where blast-related hearing injuries are uncommon. Because most previous reports focused on hearing injuries sustained in war zones, the odds are that the individuals studied were exposed to other blasts as well. As a result, these patients may have endured hearing loss on other occasions beforehand. In the Harvard report, individuals who suffered hearing loss after experiencing a single blast are being studied for the first time.

Hearing Loss in the US

Hearing loss is a serious problem and unfortunately one that often goes undiagnosed in this country. To protect your hearing for the long term, it’s important to seek medical attention right away if you think you may have been exposed to loud noises from blasts or other events.

In some cases, hearing symptoms don’t arise immediately, and patients don’t begin to suffer from deafness or ringing in the ear for several weeks. To protect their patients’ health, doctors should test hearing whenever people come in with injuries from a blast. Preventative screening is the best way to keep hearing loss from having serious consequences on people’s lives. Individuals should also take steps to protect their hearing when they plan to be in loud settings such as construction sites or concerts and make sure their kids keep their music at a low volume.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

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