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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 71-79

Chronic noise exposure: impact on the vestibular function

Audiology Unit, Tanta University Hospitals, Tanta, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Takwa A Gabr
Audiology Unit, ENT Department, Tanta University Hospitals, El-Geesh street, Tanta 31527
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2314-8667.149015

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Background Noise exposure causes permanent or temporary hearing loss. High levels of noise may stimulate the vestibular system and thereby cause disturbances in the balancing mechanism. Objectives This work was designed to investigate the effect of chronic noise exposure on the vestibular system. Participants and methods Two groups were included in this study: control group: 20 healthy individuals with normal hearing and vestibular function and study group: 40 patients with a history of prolonged noise exposure at work. This group was further divided into two subgroups: 20 patients with noise-induced hearing loss and 20 individuals with normal hearing sensitivity. All participants in this study were subjected to combined vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMPs) and videonystagmography (VNG). Results cVEMPs were absent in 5 and 20% of participants of subgroup IIa and IIb, respectively, with significantly delayed P13 and N23 latencies in the rest of participants in subgroup IIb. In terms of P13 and N23 amplitudes, there was no statistically significant difference between the control and the study subgroups. oVEMPs were absent in 40% of participants of subgroup IIb, with normal latencies and amplitudes in the rest of the participants. For VNG, only saccades latency was significantly delayed in subgroup IIb compared with subgroup IIa. A correlation was found between the participants' complaints and the results of the vestibular function tests. Conclusion Chronic noise exposure is hazardous to the inner ear structures and enhances vestibular damage, especially the sacculocollic reflex pathway. Vestibular insult is higher among patients with noise-induced hearing loss than in those with normal hearing.

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