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30-10-2019 | Uitgave 3/2020

Quality of Life Research 3/2020

The association between health-related quality of life and noise or light sensitivity in survivors of a mild traumatic brain injury

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 3/2020
Daniel Shepherd, Jason Landon, Mathew Kalloor, Suzanne Barker-Collo, Nicola Starkey, Kelly Jones, Shanthi Ameratunga, Alice Theadom, BIONIC Research Group
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Sensory impairment is a common aftereffect of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI); however, their influence upon treatment outcomes and quality of life has yet to be investigated. This study sought to determine the effects of noise and light sensitivity upon the quality of life of individuals diagnosed with a TBI.


A cross-sectional adult sample obtained from a longitudinal study (n = 293) provided measures of light and noise sensitivity and quality of life 12 months post injury. Sensitivities were taken from the Rivermead Post-concussion Symptoms Questionnaire, while quality of life was estimated using the Short-Form 36 health survey (SF-36).


Approximately 42% of participants reported ongoing difficulties with noise and light sensitivity. Additionally, those reporting sensory difficulties also reported lower SF-36 domain and composite scores compared to those reporting no such symptoms. After controlling for known co-factors, hierarchical multiple regression analyses indicated that the combination of light and noise sensitivity explained between 8 and 35% of the variance in SF-36 scores.


Light and noise sensitivity appear to degrade the quality of life of those with a mild TBI. Our findings challenge contemporary rehabilitation practices that tend to sideline sensory complaints and instead focus on the remediation of acute TBI symptoms.

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