Each year an estimated 1.6 to 3.8 million people in the U.S. will suffer a traumatic brain injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While these injuries are primarily associated with high-impact sports such as football, hockey, and boxing, the truth is TBIs can affect anyone who receives a hard blow to the head. A severe TBI can have severe repercussions for health, including damage to the middle ear’s small bones and the ears’ vestibular organs, or could cause hypersensitivity to sound and tinnitus (ringing or whooshing sounds in the ear). Most minor TBIs will resolve themselves over a short period; however, significant impacts may require surgery to repair, especially if bones are broken or cracked. If you have experienced a blow to the head, know that there is a connection between traumatic brain injury and hearing loss, so follow these steps to help protect your health and hearing.
Traumatic Brain Injury And Hearing Loss: What Are My Next Steps?
Always Visit A Doctor As Soon As Possible
If you have sustained a blow to the head, it’s most likely the doctor will schedule either an MRI or CT scan to look for internal injury and bleeding. These scans can provide an in-depth view of any potential physical damage to the skull, brain, or ears. The most important rule to follow if you feel dizzy or nauseous is to see a doctor immediately before any sleep.
See An Audiologist For An Evaluation
If you are experiencing symptoms like hearing loss, hyperacusis (sound sensitivity), tinnitus, dizziness, or balance issues after receiving a TBI. In that case, an audiologist can help determine if these issues are related to the injury and what treatments are available. Hearing loss could be an indicator of cochlear or middle ear damage. An audiologist can also recommend surgery if needed.
An Ounce Of Prevention
The truth is the majority of TBIs come from accidents in the home. Ultimately the best way to deal with a traumatic brain injury is to take steps to avoid accidents and to wear protective gear. Helmets come in a staggering variety, designed for every activity where head injury is concerned. Hard hats, football helmets, and head protection for biking, climbing, and sky diving are all used to protect the skull and brain; make sure to wear the correct headgear for your activity. At home, have bright lights and handrails installed for trip points and areas prone to become slick when wet or icy, like stairwells, bathrooms, and driveways.
If you have undergone a TBI or a blow to the head and are experiencing hearing loss, balance issues, or other problems associated with hearing health, don’t wait. Contact your doctor and schedule a visit with an audiologist today.