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How a crash can damage your hearing

If you’ve been involved in a vehicle crash, you may be dealing with a variety of injuries from broken bones to serious cuts to head injuries and more. Most people don’t associate hearing loss with crashes. However, it does occur.

While most hearing loss after a crash is temporary, it’s crucial to diagnose any problems you’re having with your hearing, including ringing in the ears. Getting an accurate diagnosis and beginning treatment as soon as possible can help prevent the condition from becoming more serious and perhaps permanent.

A number of things can cause injury to the ears that result in some level of hearing loss. Let’s look at some of the most common.


There’s no question that airbags can and do save lives. However, sometimes the noise caused by the bag when it deploys can do some harm to hearing – particularly if multiple airbags deploy in a vehicle. If an airbag hits someone on the side of their head, it may even cause damage to the many tiny bones in the ear.

Head injuries

If you don’t have airbags, and you hit your head on the steering wheel, a window or windshield or any other hard object in the vehicle, you could suffer a head injury. This can cause bones in the ear to break. Among the other types of damage to the ear that can result from head injuries are:

  • Ruptured eardrum
  • Lack of blood to the cochlea, which plays a key role in our ability to hear
  • Damage to the tissues, membranes and other parts of the ear
  • Even whiplash, which involves a quick, violent movement of the head back and forth, can cause damage to the inner ear.

Difficulty recognizing speech

Other types of auditory problems can result from a crash. For example, people who have suffered a concussion generally involving some type of explosion (including an airbag deploying) can have difficulty recognizing speech in loud rooms. If you work in a factory or other loud environment, this can affect your ability to do your job. This issue can be diagnosed with something called a “speech-in-noise” test.

The potential for auditory problems after a crash is just one reason why it’s important not to accept a settlement from an insurance company or directly from the at-fault driver after a crash. It’s crucial to determine the full extent and cost of your injuries and damages.