Tinnitus (ringing in the ear) and hearing loss are the most commonly reported side effects of a traumatic brain
Santa Rosa, CA (PRWEB) June 30, 2014
The Center for Disease Control has estimated that as many as 5.3 million Americans are living with brain injuries at any given time, and a significant head injury occurs about every 21 seconds. In 2010, about 2.5 million emergency department visits, hospitalizations or deaths were associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI). The primary contributing factor for traumatic brain injuries among adults aged 65 and older are directly related to falls. However, few TBI victims receive direction to consult with an audiologist for a hearing evaluation following such an accident.
How TBI Affects Hearing Loss
Since the inner ear is directly connected to the central nervous system, hearing problems often follow a traumatic brain injury or TBI. In fact, tinnitus (ringing in the ear) and hearing loss are the most commonly reported side effects of a traumatic brain injury.
Additional hearing problems that may occur following a brain injury include:
- hyperacusis (normal listening situations seem very loud)
- difficulty filtering one set of sounds from background noise
- auditory agnosia (the person is unable to recognize the meanings of certain sounds)
No matter what the cause, hearing problems can be very frustrating and isolating for the patient so it is always a good idea to schedule an appointment with an audiologist for a complete hearing test. This will help determine the most appropriate treatment to pursue which may include:
Following a TBI, hearing problems can occur for several reasons including mechanical and neurological issues, especially significant when the inner ear or temporal lobes have been damaged. In situations following an injury, it is important for an audiologist to determine other symptoms such as memory, cognitive or attention difficulties, which can also interfere with normal hearing and may accompany a TBI.
Making the Right Diagnosis
There are a series of delicate membranes that make up the inner ear, which can rupture during a head trauma event. The cochlea (a spiral-shaped bone in the ear) can be damaged by a strong blow to the head resulting in hearing damage. Damage to the membranes of the ear may also cause hearing loss accompanied by dizziness (vertigo) and nausea. In certain cases, surgery may be employed to correct damage to the inner ear.
In some cases following a brain injury hearing problems resolve themselves within just a few weeks, but for others, hearing problems can last indefinitely. Because hearing loss directly affects the primary means to communicate, hearing loss has the potential to complicate and frustrate other side effects of brain damage, particularly cognitive and social problems. Cognitive issues such as trouble finding words are only exacerbated if the patient cannot hear what is going on around him or her.
Since many hearing problems cannot even be detected by the patient, it is recommended that anyone suffering a traumatic brain injury be evaluated by an audiologist. Audiology Associates has provided comprehensive hearing loss prevention, diagnostics and hearing solutions to patients for 30 years. To make an appointment with Dr. Peter Marincovich or his team of certified Audigy specialists call (707) 827-1630 for their Santa Rosa office or visit their website audiologyassociates-sr.com, for more information on the other Bay Area locations.