Airbags became available as an optional passive restraint system in motor vehicles in 1973. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandated placement of driver and right passenger airbags in all passenger vehicles and light trucks beginning in model year 1997. An estimated 2.1 million airbags have been deployed from the late 1980s until the present. There have been several case reports of hearing loss after exposure to airbag deployments in drivers and passengers since 1995. Members of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery submitted case reports on 71 patients with otologic symptoms after airbag deployment.
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