Did you know that roughly 15% of U.S. adults experience some degree of hearing loss? That’s a significant number. Even more intriguing is that while age or illness can be contributing factors, hearing loss often results directly from trauma or injury. Yes, anything from minor to major head or ear trauma can have lasting impacts on one’s hearing.

The types and severity of traumas that can impair hearing are diverse and impact individuals of all ages. If you’re concerned about your hearing health after an injury, it’s important to recognize the potential for hearing damage following such events and consult with a hearing care specialist.

Traumas and Injuries That Can Cause (or Worsen) Hearing Loss

There are several types of traumas or injuries that can cause hearing loss.

Acoustic trauma – The sudden exposure to loud noises such as explosions, gunshots, or fireworks, all of which can damage the delicate structures of the inner ear.

Head injuries – Injuries to the head – including skull fractures, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries – all come with a risk of hearing loss due to potential damage to the inner ear, auditory nerve, or auditory processing areas of the brain.

Barotrauma – This occurs when someone experiences significant pressure differences between the inside and outside of their ear. The most common scenarios are air travel and scuba diving; however, it only occurs when there is an existing problem with the eustachian tube, a structure responsible for balancing air pressure in the ear.

Penetrating injuries—If they penetrate too far into the ear, items like cotton swabs, pencils, or sharp objects can injure the ear canal or middle ear and result in hearing loss. These items can also cause hearing loss by pushing ear wax further into the ear, where it blocks the canal.

Blunt force trauma – A blow to the head can result in hearing loss due to damage inflicted on one or more key structures of the ear, including the eardrum or cochlea. In some cases, these types of traumas can also cause damage to the nerves traveling between the ears and the brain.

If you are worried about trauma/injury-related hearing loss, consult with a HearingLoss.com-certified provider for an accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment plan.

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An online hearing screener is an important step, but it can’t replace a comprehensive hearing exam by a HearingLoss.com professional. Our goal is to deliver expert hearing loss solutions that improve your life.

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