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Prospective Associations Between Traumatic Brain Injury and Postdeployment Tinnitus in Active-Duty Marines.


To examine whether cause, severity, and frequency of traumatic brain injury (TBI) increase risk of postdeployment tinnitus when accounting for comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder.Self-report and clinical assessments were done before and after an "index" deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan.Assessments took place on Marine Corps bases in southern California and the VA San Diego Medical Center. Participants were 1647 active-duty enlisted Marine and Navy servicemen who completed pre- and postdeployment assessments of the Marine Resiliency Study. The main outcome was the presence of tinnitus at 3 months postdeployment.Predeployment TBI increased the likelihood of new-onset postdeployment tinnitus (odds ratio [OR] = 1.86; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.28-2.70). Deployment-related TBIs increased the likelihood of postdeployment tinnitus (OR = 2.65; 95% CI, 1.19-5.89). Likelihood of new-onset postdeployment tinnitus was highest for those who were blast-exposed (OR = 2.93; 95% CI, 1.82-6.17), who reported moderate-severe TBI symptoms (OR = 2.22; 95% CI, 1.22-3.40), and who sustained multiple TBIs across study visits (OR = 2.27; 95% CI, 1.44-4.24). Posttraumatic stress disorder had no effect on tinnitus outcome.Participants who were blast-exposed, sustained multiple TBIs, and reported moderate-severe TBI symptoms were most at risk for new-onset tinnitus.

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