Head Injuries & Hearing Loss

Head Injuries & Hearing Loss

Dr. Marina E. Kade Hearing Health, Hearing Loss, Signs & Symptoms

Dr. Marina E. Kade

When most people think of hearing loss, they think of the hearing loss that comes with aging. Most people who lose their hearing are over 60. Together with hearing loss caused by noise, these types are pretty standard, and most people who live to be over 70 will have some hearing loss. 

Even though this is a common way for hearing loss, this is by no means the only way hearing loss can happen. A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is one of the many conditions that can cause hearing loss. To better understand how TBI and hearing loss are related, let’s first look at what TBI is, then at how TBI can cause hearing loss, and finally at how both conditions can be prevented.

What is a traumatic brain injury (TBI)?

The Centers for Disease Control says that at least 1 million TBIs send people to the hospital each year in the U.S., and there are 3 million head injuries, including mild concussions, in total. 

With numbers like that, you might be wondering what exactly is a TBI. A brain injury is generally considered traumatic if it interferes with how the brain works. A bump can cause this blow, jolt, or jolt to the head and a penetrating head injury. 

There are many different kinds of ways people can suffer from a TBI. Some of the most common causes of TBI are sports, and recent news stories about American football have shown that it is a hazardous contact sport when it comes to TBI. Accidents with cars, attacks, gunshot wounds, and explosions are also common causes. 

Traumatic effects can be of many different kinds, including problems with motor, sensory, sleep, and sexual functioning, as well as problems with memory, language comprehension, problem-solving, and making decisions. TBI can also affect personality, behavior, and way of life, such as unemployment, poor academic performance, and trouble getting along with others. 

As you might expect, TBI can cause hearing loss, a type of sensory impairment.

Traumatic brain injuries and loss of hearing

Sometimes, a physical chain reaction occurs, which turns a traumatic brain injury into hearing loss. Because the injury happens quickly and violently, it can damage the path between the outer ear and the auditory nervous system. This physical damage varies in how bad it is and how long it hurts. 

A physical domino effect between an injury and hearing loss isn’t the only way this can happen. The conditions leading up to the TBI can also cause noise-induced hearing loss. Consider, for example, a car accident. Even though a crash can cause TBI, the noise from that event can also cause hearing loss that is not caused by physical damage.

Both traumatic brain injuries and hearing loss can be avoided.

Even though some TBIs are unavoidable, one of the best ways to avoid them is to wear protective headwear when playing sports. Protective gear should not only be there but also be worn correctly and fit snugly on the head. 

Not only is it essential to wear a helmet and other safety gear when playing sports, but it is also essential when biking, riding a motorcycle, or riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Keeping yourself from getting a TBI can also help you keep your hearing. 

If you put yourself in dangerous situations for TBI, you might also risk noise-induced hearing loss (the most common preventable cause of hearing loss). For example, riding motorcycles or all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) is dangerous for your head and could also expose you to loud noises.

When you’re in a place like this, you shouldn’t just worry about keeping your head safe; you should also consider whether you need hearing protection. Even cheap, one-time-use foam earplugs can do a lot to protect hearing in these situations, so wearing a helmet and earplugs can be the best thing you can do for your brain and hearing health in the long run.