Sensory Sensitivity in TBI: Implications for Chronic Disability
- 114 Downloads
Purpose of Review
This review investigates the relationship between sensory sensitivity and traumatic brain injury (TBI), and the role sensory sensitivity plays in chronic disability.
TBI is a significant cause of disability with a range of physical, cognitive, and mental health consequences. Sensory sensitivities (e.g., noise and light) are among the most frequently reported, yet least outwardly recognizable symptoms following TBI. Clinicians and scientists alike have yet to identify consistent nomenclature for defining noise and light sensitivity, making it difficult to accurately and reliably assess their influence. Noise and light sensitivity can profoundly affect critical aspects of independent function including communication, productivity, socialization, cognition, sleep, and mental health.
Research examining the prevalence of sensory sensitivity and evidence for the association of sensory sensitivity with TBI is inconclusive. Evidence-based interventions for sensory sensitivity, particularly following TBI, are lacking.
KeywordsSensory sensitivity Light sensitivity Noise sensitivity Traumatic brain injury Neurodegeneration PTSD
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Megan L. Callahan and Miranda M. Lim each declare no potential conflicts of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
- 5.Lovell MR, Collins MW, Podell K, Powell J, Maroon J. ImPACT: immediate post-concussion assessment and cognitive testing. Pittsburgh, PA: NeuroHealth Systems, LLC; 2000.Google Scholar
- 7.•• Callahan ML, Binder LM, O’Neil ME, Zaccari B, Roost MS, Golshan S, et al. Sensory sensitivity in Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans with and without blast exposure and mild traumatic brain injury. Appl Neuropsychol: Adult. 2016;24:1–11. https://doi.org/10.1080/23279095.2016.1261867. This study is the first to identify a unique relationship between mild TBI and sensory sensitivity after controlling for psychiatric distress.
- 14.Lew HL, et al. Dual sensory impairment (DSI) in traumatic brain injury (TBI)—an emerging interdisciplinary challenge. Neuro Rehab. 2010;26:213–22.Google Scholar
- 22.•• Kliuchko M, Heinonen-Guzejev M, Vuust P, Tervaniemi M, Brattico E. A window into the brain mechanisms associated with noise sensitivity. Sci Rep. 2016;6 https://doi.org/10.1038/srep39236. The authors used a physiological approach to study the brain mechanisms associated with noise sensitivity, which correctly identified central auditory response patterns experienced by noise-sensitive individuals.
- 23.Aguilar MC, Gonzalez A, Rowaan C, Lee W, de Freitas C, Alawa K, et al. BPEI photosensitivity tester: instrument design and test results in healthy subjects. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014;55:4108.Google Scholar
- 24.Heinonen-Guzejev, M. (2008). Noise sensitivity–medical, psychological and genetic aspects.Google Scholar
- 32.•• Elliott J, Opel RA, Chau AQ, Weymann KB, Callahan ML, Storzbach D, & Lim MM. Sleep disturbances in TBI: associations with sensory sensitivity. J Clin Sleep Med. 2018 epub ahead of print. The authors report a high rate of sleep dysfunction in patients with sensory sensitivity, and link PTSD autonomic arousal to sensory sensitivity using an overnight sleep study. This is the first study to examine the relationship between sensory sensitivity and sleep in a TBI population. Google Scholar
- 48.Kapoor N, Ciuffreda K. Vision deficits following acquired brain injury. In: Cristian A, editor. Medical management of adults with neurologic disabilities. New York (NY): Demos Medical Publishing; 2009. p. 407–23.Google Scholar
- 50.Wolf JA, Koch PF. Disruption of network synchrony and cognitive dysfunction after traumatic brain injury. Front Syst Neurosci. 2016;10Google Scholar
- 51.Barnes DE, Byers AL, Gardner RC, Seal KH, Boscardin WJ, Yaffe K. Association of mild traumatic brain injury with and without loss of consciousness with dementia in US military veterans. JAMA Neurology. 2018;Google Scholar
- 56.Kalkonde YV, Jawaid A, Qureshi SU, Shirani P, Wheaton M, Pinto-Patarroyo GP, et al. Medical and environmental risk factors associated with frontotemporal dementia: a case-control study in a veteran population. Alzheimer’s & dementia: the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. 2012;8(3):204–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 66.Zakzanis, KK, et al. (1999). Mild traumatic brain injury. In Neuropsychological differential diagnosis (pp. 163–171). Exton, Pennsylvania: Swets & Zeitlinger.Google Scholar
- 72.Stansfeld, SA, Clark, CR, Jenkins, LM, & Tarnopolsky (1985). Sensitivity to noise in a community sample: I. Measurement of psychiatric disorder and personality. Psych Med, 15(2), 243–254. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/s0033291700023527.
- 76.Martenson, M, Halawa, Ol, Tonsfeldt, KJ, Maxwell, CA, Hammack, N, Mist, SD, Pennesi, ME, et al. (2016). A possible neural mechanism for photosensitivity in chronic pain. Pain, 157, 868–878. doi: https://doi.org/10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000450.
- 77.• Callahan ML, Storzbach D. Sensory sensitivity and posttraumatic stress disorder in blast exposed veterans with mild traumatic brain injury. App Neuro. 2018; https://doi.org/10.1080/23279095.2018.1433179. This study analyses the role PTSD symptoms play in maintaining sensory sensitivity. It is critically important for polytrauma rehabilitation.
- 81.Warren L, Wrigley JM, Yoels WC, Fine PR. Factors associated with life satisfaction among a sample of persons with neurotrauma. JRRD. 1996;33:404–8.Google Scholar
- 83.Pierce CA, Hanks RA. Life satisfaction after traumatic brain injury and the World Health Organization model of disability. Am J Phys Med Rehab. 2006;85:889–98. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.phm.0000242615.43129.ae.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 84.Wahl HW, Schilling O, Oswald F, Heyl V. Psychosocial consequences of age-related visual impairment: comparison with mobility-impaired older adults and long-term outcome. J Ger: Psych Sci. 1999;54B:P304–16.Google Scholar
- 89.Smith A, Nutt D, Wilson S, Rich N, Hayward S, & Heatherley S. Noise and insomnia: a study of community noise exposure, sleep disturbance, noise sensitivity, and subjective reports of health. Report to the UK Department of Health and Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions. 2002Google Scholar
- 90.Park J, Chung S, Lee J, Sung JH, Cho SW, Sim CS. Noise sensitivity, rather than noise level, predicts the non-auditory effects of noise in community samples: a population-based survey. BMC Public Health. 2017;17:315. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-017-4244-5.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar