Concussions, otherwise known as traumatic brain injuries (TBI), have become a much-discussed subject in recent years. These injuries can cause serious long-term health problems, but did you know concussions can also cause hearing loss?
According to the CDC there are over 1 million cases of traumatic brain injury in the US each year that lead to hospitalization, and as many as 3 million cases of any head injury per year - including mild concussions.
Concussions have been in the spotlight recently, with football players and the NFL coming under increased scrutiny regarding the long-term effects of these injuries.
In fact, there was even a Hollywood movie, named Concussion, in which Will Smith played the role of Dr. Bennet Omalu - the doctor who first to identified TBI as a factor in the premature deaths of some football players.
While there has been plenty of discussions around some of the short-term and long-term symptoms that can occur from a concussion, many people are still unaware that TBI can also cause hearing loss.
Before we get into how hearing loss can be caused by concussion, let’s first take a look and what a concussion is and how it's caused.
So, what is a concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement causes the brain to bound or twist around in the skull, which can cause both damage to brain cells as well as chemical changes.
The most common causes of head trauma are the result of motor vehicle accidents, falls or sport-related injuries. These injuries are categorized as mild, moderate or severe, and while concussions are (in most cases) not life-threatening they can cause significant life-changing symptoms.
The short term effects of a concussion include:
- Appearing dazed.
- Tires out easily.
- Irritability and crankiness.
- Excessive crying.
- Loss of balance.
- Unsteady walking.
- Changes in eating or sleeping pattern.
The long term effects of a concussion could include:
- Trouble concentrating.
- Memory problems.
- Irritability and other personality changes.
- Sensitivity to light and noise.
- Sleep disturbances.
- Depression and other psychological problems.
- Disorders of smell and taste.
How does concussion cause hearing loss?
Head trauma can cause significant changes to the ear, and that can change the way in which sound travels to the brain. These injuries can be both reversible or irreversible and include problems such as the rupture of eardrums, damaged or dislocated bones, damage to the tissue or membranes of the inner ear as well as the disruption of the central auditory pathways.
The result of TBI hearing loss can result in tinnitus, conductive hearing loss, difficulty hearing over loud background noise, difficulty pinpointing the location of sound, sensorineural hearing loss, vertigo, nausea and difficulty maintaining balance.
These symptoms can have a significant impact on your life, but they don’t have to. A professional hearing clinic, such as York Hearing Clinic, can create a tailor-made solution that significantly improves your quality of life.
Want to learn more about the treatments and solutions available for TBI hearing loss? Contact our team of friendly experts today to find out more.