Date of Degree


Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name





John Preece

Subject Categories

Interprofessional Education | Medical Pathology | Physiological Processes | Speech and Hearing Science | Speech Pathology and Audiology


otologic blast injuries, blast injuries, blast-induced trauma, audiological blast injuries


The otologic system functions as a highly sensitive pressure transducer. Because of this, the ear is the most commonly affected organ in primary blast injury. Frequently encountered symptoms include hearing loss, tinnitus, and tympanic membrane perforations. The ear is repeatedly overlooked during triage and easily forgotten in subjects with multiple injuries after major catastrophic events such as explosions. This systematic review provides an overview of the most common otologic injuries observed after blast exposure in a variety of settings and populations. An analysis of 35 studies and an additional 23 reviews was performed in attempt to uncover patterns of otologic injury after blast exposure. Spontaneous recovery rates and late sequale were examined. The study of otologic blast injury is limited by the vast differences between each blast incident and the inability to predict how physical environments affect blast overpressures. There is an overall lack of data on the long term affects of blast injury on the otologic system. Recommendations for assessment and management of blast-injured patients, both short and long term, are made and future research is discussed.