Hearing impairment isn’t always age-related, nor is it always tied to disease. Occasionally it’s connected to some form of trauma. From loud noises to whiplash, there exists a wide range of injuries that can result in hearing impairment or hearing loss. We’re going to go over five of them here.
As you may already know, noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss in the world. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four adults who report either excellent or good hearing have measurable levels of hearing loss. At least some of this is caused by exposure to extreme or traumatic noise.
Generally speaking, the human ear can safely deal with sounds no louder than 80 decibels (dB). Anything above that has the potential to cause permanent damage to your hearing. This becomes particularly pronounced above 110 dB, which according to the CDC can cause hearing loss in less than two minutes. Sounds above 120 d, such as sirens or firecrackers, result in pain and immediate injury.
Getting hit in the head is always bad news. Although the skull generally protects the brain from slight impacts, anything with enough force to jostle it into the walls of the skull can result in a concussion (or worse). This can cause hearing impairment or loss in several ways.
First and foremost, it can damage the areas of the brain related to hearing and speech. If the trauma is severe enough or in the right location, it can also cause serious damage to the ears. If, after a head injury, you experience tinnitus or issues with balance, it’s a sure sign something in your ears has been damaged, and you should visit a doctor.
In the same way that a concussion can cause the brain to jostle in the skull, so can whiplash, so-named because it involves the head being whipped violently back and forth. Just as with trauma to the skull, whiplash can create concussion-like symptoms through violent shaking. It may also cause issues with hearing and balance, damaging the semicircular canal or the nerves in the brain stem through shearing force.
There’s a very good reason we constantly say you should avoid using cotton swabs to clean your ears. Sticking anything into your ears can cause not only cerumen impaction but in extreme cases, permanently damage your eardrums. Although these perforations do eventually heal in a few weeks or so, they can create other complications such as ear infections.
It’s well-documented that exposure to extreme cold can cause permanent skin damage, particularly around the face and extremities. What you might not know is that in some cases, it can also result in hearing impairment, either temporary or permanent. That’s why it’s absolutely critical that you bundle up before going outside, and ensure you’ve something to protect your ears from the cold.
Let the Professionals at Kenwood Hearing Center Help You
If you suspect you may be suffering from trauma-related hearing loss, your best bet is to contact an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT) or visit your general practitioner. And even if you don’t, it’s well worth your time to at least reach out to a hearing care professional. At Kenwood Hearing Center, we can help you. Contact us today and schedule an appointment at one of our convenient Ohio hearing center locations: Bowling Green, Toledo, or Wauseon.