Concussions are extremely common, especially in athletes. In fact, about 3.8 million Americans experience a concussion every year from a sports-related injury. With the prevalence of concussions being so common, it’s important to ask; can concussions lead to hearing loss?
What is a Concussion?
Concussions are a type of mild traumatic brain injury caused by sudden acceleration or deceleration to the head. Your brain is surrounded by fluid that acts as a protective divider from your skull. When you experience a forceful injury to your head, the brain can shake or twist inside your skull. This can result in your brain striking your skull and damaging your soft brain tissue.
Concussions and Hearing Loss
Symptoms of a concussion include headaches, dizziness, loss of consciousness, confusion, fatigue, vomiting, and even hearing loss. One of the main causes of hearing loss is head/ear trauma. Repeated trauma to the head can cause permanent damage to the hearing nerve located in the inner ear. Damage to this nerve often results in irreversible hearing loss.
Hearing loss is incredibly common, even in people who have never had a concussion or any type of head/ear trauma. In fact, studies show that about 28 million U.S. adults could benefit from using hearing aids.*
Because of the hearing nerve’s proximity to the brain, any head related injury, such as a concussion, can lead to sensorineural hearing loss. Although hearing loss can happen to anyone of any age or occupation, there is a correlation between professional athletes and the need for a hearing aid.
How to Be Proactive
If you or your child are an athlete, it’s important to be proactive about hearing and brain health. For football players, it’s crucial to always wear a helmet to keep your head — and your ears — safe. It’s always important to schedule regular hearing visits with a hearing professional. A hearing professional can monitor your hearing and let you know of any changes.
Always be sure to keep your head safe and try your best to avoid concussions. If you have experienced a concussion recently, visit your local hearing professional to ensure your hearing is fine. Don’t wait, be proactive about your ear — and brain — health by scheduling an appointment today!
*NIDCD Epidemiology and Statistics Program, based on December 2015 Census Bureau estimates of the noninstitutionalized U.S. population, personal communication; May 2016.