Hearing may have been the last thing you expected to be affected in an auto accident, but it can be impacted by many of the actions that occur following a collision. Airbag deployment, for instance, can damage the inner ear and cause mild to severe damage. If you’ve experienced some hearing loss after your auto accident, here’s what you need to know.

What causes hearing loss in an auto accident?

There are three main types of hearing loss caused by various factors. Conductive hearing loss is caused by things like ear infections, foreign objects in the ear canal, perforated eardrums, or impacted earwax. Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by exposure to loud noise, aging, disease, or head trauma. And lastly, mixed hearing loss is caused by a combination of the two.

The hearing loss you might experience in an auto accident is most likely sensorineural, meaning it was caused by impact or sudden loud noise. For example, if you had any head trauma, you could have broken bones inside your ear, causing vibrations on your eardrum that affect your hearing. This type of injury can usually be treated with emergency surgery.

It’s also possible that your airbag was the culprit of your hearing loss. Although somewhat rare, airbag deployment can cause severe injuries to the ear. Both the strong impact and the loud noise can cause perforation to the tympanic membrane (inner ear), tinnitus, sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss, and disequilibrium. But the most common is sensorineural hearing loss.

Immediate care is crucial

The first thing to do when you notice any hearing loss is to see an ear doctor. Seeking immediate audiology care is crucial to getting treatment that could help you heal. Your doctor will be able to assess the damage and decide if surgery is the proper treatment or if it will heal on its own. But waiting too long may further the damage, making it harder to treat and sometimes impossible to heal correctly.

How is hearing loss treated?

Typically, your doctor will run a series of tests, including lab tests to determine there is no infection, tuning to determine if the loss was caused by nerve-damage, tympanometry to see if the eardrum is perforated, and a general exam to find out how much hearing loss you’ve experienced.

Treatment varies for different hearing loss causes. And sometimes the best treatment is to allow it to heal on its own. If your eardrum was perforated, your doctor might seal it with a synthetic patch or perform a surgery to patch it with a patch made of your own tissue.

Your lawyer needs to know

Your auto accident lawyer in Mobile, AL or your local town will be able to help you determine what, if any, further action needs to be taken with your case. If your hearing loss is permanent, you will likely have ongoing treatment costs to consider, such as surgeries or hearing devices. If you already have a pending lawsuit that includes medical expenses, you will need to keep him or her informed of new developments and provide all the medical records and bills that you’ve acquired.

At the first sign of hearing loss, it’s important to seek medical attention and contact your attorney immediately. This is true even if the hearing loss happens days or weeks after your car accident. Your physician can determine if the damage was caused by the trauma or if there is another culprit. But either way, immediate care is crucial to ensure that you can get the best treatment possible to restore your hearing loss if it is at all a feasible option.

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