Impairment Tutorial: Impairment Evaluation of Ear, Nose, Throat, and Related Structures: Fifth Edition Revisions
Kathryn Mueller
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Christopher R. Brigham
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Chapter 11, Ear, Nose, Throat, and Related Structures of the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (AMA Guides), Fifth Edition, includes a new section on voice impairment, a new table on vestibular disorders, and information regarding combined facial disorders and disfigurements. Impairments are based on anatomic, physiological, and functional approaches and involve the assessment of subjective information (eg, statements provided by the patient) and objective factors determined by clinical examination or functional tests. The rating of hearing loss is unchanged from the Fourth Edition in the AMA Guides, Fifth Edition, and tables guide the conversion of monoauricular and binaural hearing impairments into whole person impairments. A tinnitus rating can be combined with the binaural hearing impairment loss before conversion to a whole person permanent impairment. Total disfigurement of the face can be graded between 16% and 50%; a table guides evaluators in rating facial disorders or disfigurement. Impairments of the nose, throat, and related structures include respiration, mastication, deglutition, olfaction and taste, speech, and voice. Although hearing loss is measured using anatomic, physiological, and functional approaches, many other assessments in Chapter 11 are based on interference in the activities of daily living, and the examiner must perform a careful assessment and apply the criteria in the AMA Guides.

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