Hearing Loss After a Traumatic Brain Injury

Home » Hearing Loss After a Traumatic Brain Injury
May 26, 2019
Edward Smith

Hearing Loss 

Numerous complications could occur following a traumatic brain injury, including hearing loss. There are many reasons why someone might suffer hearing loss. Examples include:

  • Being exposed to loud noises for short periods.
  • Earwax has impacted the eardrum.
  • A perforated eardrum following an ear infection.
  • Foreign objects that might have become lodged in the ear canal.

While many of these are temporary, hearing loss after a traumatic brain injury could end up being permanent. Sound waves enter the ear canal and cause small hairs in the ears to vibrate. These vibrations are passed through a series of bones that communicate signals to the nerves. These nerves then send signals to the brain. In a TBI, the nerves that transmit sounds to this area of the brain could become damaged, leading to hearing loss.

Mechanisms of Hearing Loss in a TBI

There are numerous ways in which someone might suffer a traumatic brain injury. Some of these examples include:

  • Sustaining a blow to the head in an auto accident.
  • A slip and fall accident where individuals hit their head on a staircase, sidewalk, or floor.
  • Physical assault.
  • Contacting sports such as soccer and football.
  • Bicycle and motorcycle accidents, particularly those where the rider was not wearing a helmet.

Because the accidents involving traumatic brain injuries can be sudden and violent, a traumatic brain injury can also damage the auditory pathway. This pathway runs from the outer ear to the brain itself. Damage anywhere along this pathway can lead to hearing loss. Some of the most common locations for the pathway to suffer damage include:

  • The Eardrum
  • The middle ear bones which are the malleus, incus, and stapes
  • The cochlea which contains the vibratory hair cells
  • The 8th cranial nerve

There are many reasons why someone might suffer from hearing loss after a head or brain injury. Because of this, the signs and symptoms of hearing loss will depend on the nature of the damage.

Signs and Symptoms of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can present in different ways depending on the location and severity of the brain injury. Some of the signs and symptoms of hearing loss after a traumatic brain injury include:

  • A feeling that speech and other sounds are muffled.
  • Constant ringing in the ears called tinnitus.
  • Trouble understanding words and statements in a large crowd.
  • Difficulty with the interpretation of certain consonants.
  • Frequently needing to ask others to repeat what they have said.
  • Needing to increase the volume on the television or radio.

When a loved one is not able to hear well, this impacts the entire family. Hearing difficulties can prevent someone from interacting with those around them, creating a lot of stress. Fortunately, there are some treatment options for those who have suffered hearing loss after a severe injury.

Treatment of Hearing Loss After a Traumatic Brain Injury

If individuals have noticed that they have trouble hearing after an accident, they might have suffered a TBI. Imaging scans, such as a CT or an MRI, might reveal damage to certain parts of the brain. Nerve conduction studies could also be performed to see if the auditory pathway has been damaged. Once the hearing loss has been diagnosed, there are several treatment options available. Some of these include:

  • Depending on the exact cause of the hearing loss, some individuals might find hearing aids helpful.
  • Those who have suffered nerve damage might be able to use cochlear implants to restore some function.
  • In some cases, corticosteroids could be prescribed to relieve swelling in and around the nerves, restoring some hearing.

Ultimately, some of the hearing loss after a TBI could be permanent. This could leave families searching for answers.

Watch YouTube Video: Detecting Post-blast Hearing Loss and Brain Injury. This video explains how mild blast trauma could cause hearing loss in military personnel.

Contacting a Brain Injury Attorney

If a loved one has suffered a TBI, it is not unusual for family members to have questions. Unfortunately, there are often more questions than answers which can lead to a large amount of stress. Everyone deserves help during this tough time, and it is a good idea to speak with a brain injury attorney in San Francisco. Below are some resources that a trained injury lawyer can provide with:

  • Access to accident reconstruction professionals who can help recreate what happened at the scene.
  • Help to pursue damages related to the injury, any associated complications of the accident, and even pain and suffering.
  • Assistance with negotiating with financial companies to ensure that benefits are paid out appropriately.
  • Guidance in shifting a case to trial when required.

Families deserve help during their time of need. Rely on the help of a San Francisco Brain Injury Attorney. You and your family might be owed a financial award.

Brain Injury Attorneys in San Francisco

I’m Ed Smith, a San Francisco Brain Injury Attorney. Following a severe traumatic brain injury, individuals may notice hearing loss. This hearing loss can prevent people from returning to work or school, causing a significant amount of stress. Those who have suffered a TBI are encouraged to contact me at (415) 805-7284 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.
I have been invited to join California’s section of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. This critical group of accomplished injury lawyers has been listed next to some of the top attorneys in the United States. All of our members have settled cases or earned trial verdicts worth greater than $1 million.

I’m also an attorney in the Top One Percent, a National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

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