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Noise trauma after inflation of air bags in low speed car crashes

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 22 May 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1421

Article was unclear and possibly misleading

  1. S S M Hussain (, Consultant otologist
  1. Directorate of Otolaryngology, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee DD1 9SY
  2. Department of Otolaryngology (Head and Neck Surgery), St James's University Hospital, Leeds LS9 2TF

    EDITOR—Buckley et al draw attention to possible noise trauma and sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus as a result of the inflation of air bags in low speed car crashes.1 Their report is unclear on several issues and may be misleading.

    In neither of the two cases reported is mention made of how soon after the accident the audiometry was carried out. The accident in case 1 occurred in the United States, and audiometry was carried out in Leeds by one of the authors. There is no record of any hearing assessment in the United States, which is surprising given that the patient experienced bilateral hearing loss, tinnitus, and unsteadiness (the unsteadiness lasting two weeks). Patients' perception of hearing loss does not imply that such a loss was simply sensorineural; indeed, conductive loss may have occurred and been …

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