Can I Have Hearing Issues after a Car Accident?Published: Sep 13, 2021 in Auto Accident, Personal Injury
People tend to check themselves for obvious physical injuries after getting into a car accident. They look for bruises and examine their bodies for broken bones. However, some trauma is less noticeable right away, such as temporary or permanent hearing loss or ear-related difficulties.
This is yet another reason that all victims of car accidents, including passengers and pedestrians, should visit an emergency room or make a doctor’s appointment immediately after the incident. Otherwise, they may not get the diagnosis or treatment they need for all their injuries.
As car accident lawyers know too well, waiting too long after an accident to get medical attention can make it harder to recover fair damages. Consequently, car accident victims should make it a point to both be seen by a doctor and be on the lookout for hearing problems.
Why Car Accidents can Lead to Hearing Injuries
Any type of car accident, from a head-on collision to a rear-end wreck, can lead to damage to the outside, middle, or inner ear. In fact, the ears are quite susceptible to being injured from a number of different experiences common during collisions.
- Airbag deployment. When airbags deploy, they make an incredibly loud sound. In fact, the average airbag deployment tops off at around 160 to 170 decibels, depending on its location in the vehicle. At that sound level, the intensity can harm the sensitive nerves in the ears. Research shows that people exposed to deploying airbags may experience permanent deafness.
- Traumatic brain injury. Any type of car accident can be violent. Even a fender-bender can lead to whiplash. When the brain suffers any kind of jerking, sudden motion, the result can be short-term or long-term damage to it and surrounding organs, including parts of the ears. Plus, the balance center of the brain may be affected, which can create hearing challenges.
- Blunt-force trauma to the head. Flying objects can damage the outer ear and even cause amputations during serious collisions. Likewise, projectiles including shards of glass or metal can end up inside the ear and create problems.
- Jaw damage. If the jaw is misaligned during a car accident, the victim may wind up suffering from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. The jawbone hinge is very close to the ear, so victims diagnosed with TMJ disorder sometimes report discomfort in and around the ear, as well as constant popping of and fullness in the ears.
What are Some Symptoms of Possible Post-Accident Hearing Damage?
Like so many other types of car accident injuries, hearing damage may not be immediately obvious. In the stress of the moment, adrenaline takes over, which can overshadow physical pain and related issues. However, if the following signs of potential hearing problems come in the hours, days, or weeks after a car accident, they may have a direct correlation to the collision.
- Ringing in the ears, which is called tinnitus or sometimes trauma-linked tinnitus. The ringing may sound more like buzzing or a high-pitched whine. Tinnitus can go away on its own or may end up staying for a lifetime.
- Fluid coming from the ears. The fluid may come from the inner ear from a trauma such as a ruptured eardrum. Escaping fluid could be an indication of a serious complication requiring immediate attention, especially if the discharge contains blood or does not stop.
- Dizziness and vertigo. These conditions may be constant or may come and go. They can make it difficult to handle even the most basic daily activities. Additionally, any imbalances can lead to widespread nausea or headaches.
- Difficulty hearing sounds or distinguishing one sound from another. These are more typical hearing loss signals. Victims of car accidents who cannot understand other people’s words, or who have to keep turning up their radios or televisions, should see an audiologist to get diagnosed.
- Deafness in one or both ears. Hearing loss after a car accident may be immediate and come in the form of complete deafness. Though this type of trauma-induced deafness may be temporary, it can cause many problems. In some cases, deafness can last forever.
- Ear fullness. In some circumstances, accident victims report feeling as if their ears are too full, almost like they contain water or have been stuffed with cotton.
- Specific or generalized ear pain. Any pain or discomfort on or inside the ear should be explored immediately after an accident. Ear pain may be acute or become chronic.
- Auditory hallucinations. It is not uncommon for people who experience ear trauma to report hearing sounds that are not really there. These types of auditory hallucinations may become overwhelming and interfere with a victim’s quality of life.
Other Medical Concerns Associated with Hearing Loss
Like all forms of injury, hearing loss does not happen in a bubble. Instead, hearing problems have a systemic effect. For instance, someone who experiences hearing loss or damage after an accident may experience severe depression. Another victim may have trouble falling asleep because of tinnitus. Or the victim may be unable to focus on school, work, or personal recreation activities such as working out or reading.
Hearing issues can be devastating in far more ways than people can imagine. For this reason, victims need to self-advocate as well as choose advocacy partners such as an experienced car accident lawyer to compel insurance carriers and courts to make them whole after being victimized in an accident.
How can I Document Car Accident Hearing Loss?
Unfortunately, hearing loss is often dismissed by insurance agencies because it seems to be such an invisible or minor injury. For this reason, victims should concentrate their efforts on gathering documentation to support their assertion that their hearing loss was caused by a collision.
Documentation can come in a variety of forms. The most important paperwork will come from medical experts such as audiologists and other specialists. Having reports from diagnostic tests will help establish a clear link between the accident and the hearing damage.
Should I Hire a Lawyer after Losing My Hearing in a Car Accident?
Whether to talk with a car accident lawyer after suffering injuries during a car accident is a personal matter. However, many victims prefer to let lawyers handle all the paperwork, evidence, and negotiations. This allows victims to put all their attention into their treatment and lower their stress levels while still knowing that their case is moving forward toward a hopeful and appropriate resolution.
Edwardsville Car Accident Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Help Victims after Any Type of Accident
If you were in a motor vehicle accident that damaged your ears or left you with hearing problems, you are entitled to compensation. Victims are encouraged to contact the Edwardsville car accident lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC for assistance. We help our clients secure the compensation they deserve and focus on their recovery. We will help you every step of the way, from the moment you confide your story until your case is resolved through a settlement or trial. Call us today at 618-277-3644 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we serve accident victims in St. Louis, Belleville, East St. Louis, Edwardsville, Granite City, Waterloo, Chester, Carbondale, St. Clair County, Madison County, Monroe County, Randolph County, and other regions throughout Southern Illinois.