The symptoms associated with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), also called concussion, typically resolve within a few weeks. One of the most common symptoms is noise sensitivity, which can cause discomfort and distress in loud, crowded environments, or even in response to small sounds that non-injured people barely perceive. While the vast majority of individuals who sustain a concussion will recover relatively quickly, a small proportion continue to experience post-concussive symptoms, such as noise sensitivity, for several months after the initial injury. These persistent complications are known as post-concussion syndrome.
A research team posited that noise sensitivity in the early recovery period can predict the likelihood that a person will experience post-concussion syndrome. To answer this question, they studied 341 adults who sustained concussion over a one-year period. Participants completed several measures to assess concussion-related outcomes, including the Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire (which includes a noise sensitivity component), the Hospital Depression and Anxiety Scale, and a computerized neurocognitive test. To track participants’ symptoms over time, the assessments were administered at 1 week after injury, and then at 1, 6, and 12 months after injury.
At the end of the study, data analysis revealed that:
- Nearly half of participants experienced noise sensitivity immediately following concussion.
- By one-year post-injury, fewer than 1 in 3 had noise sensitivity, indicating progressive improvement over time.
- Participants with noise sensitivity in the days immediately following concussion were more likely to experience post-concussion syndrome in the months after than participants who did not report noise sensitivity among their early symptoms.
Noise sensitivity can be debilitating, and post-concussion treatment plans should seek to reduce the burden of this symptom through management strategies (e.g., wearing earplugs) and targeted interventions. Furthermore, the findings of this study suggest that the early presence of noise sensitivity may predict persistent post-concussion symptoms, so clinicians should be aware that patients with immediate noise sensitivity may require more extensive supports, services, and follow-ups during the concussion recovery period.
Works Cited: Shepherd D, Heinonen-Guzejev M, Heikkilä K, et al. Sensitivity to noise following a mild traumatic brain injury: A longitudinal study. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. (September 2021).
Have You or a Loved One Suffered a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury?
If you or a loved one have recently been injured in an accident and are experiencing symptoms that may be consistent with mild traumatic brain injuries, then you should immediately seek medical attention for a diagnosis and treatment. Early treatment and documentation of any type of brain injury is crucial to making sure you are receiving the proper treatment and for building a strong claim for compensation.
Our reputable attorneys at Scarlett Law Group have earned some of the largest verdicts in history on behalf of clients in California who have suffered these types of debilitating injuries, and we are prepared to leverage our firm’s experience and resources to fight for your rights.
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