The most common causes of hearing loss are advanced age and exposure to loud noises. Another cause of hearing loss you may not have thought about is injury to the head, neck or ears. We review some of these injuries and how they can impact your hearing below.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Getting hit in the head can cause all sorts of problems, from a concussion to hearing loss. A TBI can result in hearing loss if there’s enough force to jostle the brain into the walls of the skull and the parts of the brain related to hearing and speech are affected.
According to one systematic review, “The studies with the highest level of evidence report a change in hearing of at least 10-15 dB across a range of frequencies in as many as 58% percent of TBI patients without bony fracture, which was transient or chronic.”
Blow to the Neck
Even a neck injury, like whiplash or a blow to the neck, can cause hearing loss. This is because a neck injury can also result in the brain being slammed against the skull.
One study shows, “Twenty of the 166 ears (12%) had normal hearing and 137 ears (81.3%) showed an acoustic trauma-like hearing impairment. Eight ears (4.8%) had a hearing loss of at least 30 dB in the speech frequencies (500-2,000 Hz) and two ears (1.2%) had additional impairment in the higher frequencies. Only one ear (0.8%) had a conductive hearing loss.”
A ruptured eardrum, also known as a perforation, can be caused by sticking a foreign object in the ear, like a cotton swab when trying to clean it, by a direct blow to the ear, or, in rare cases, by exposure to a very loud noise like an explosion.
In one study, participants included, “Consecutive patients who suffered physical blow to the ear resulting in tympanic membrane perforations without history of previous middle ear disease… Fifty-one patients, 31 males (61%) and 20 females (39%) aged 10-56 years, were recruited over a 30 month study period. The prevalence of hearing loss was significantly more in the injured ears than contralateral normal ears.” If you’re having trouble hearing your friends at Haywire following one of these injuries, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert right away.
For more information on hearing protection or to schedule an appointment, call Sharp Hearing - The Audiology Center today.