Image of a man looking confused and in pain with a hand over his ear, and leaning against a car

Experiencing ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, after a car crash can be concerning and uncomfortable. In recognition of Tinnitus Awareness Week, we will dive into the important implications of this symptom, what it could signify about your health post-collision, and what you need to do to protect your well-being and legal rights.

If you’re affected by ringing in your ears after a crash, work with our South Carolina car accident lawyers at Joye Law Firm to file a personal injury claim. We can help you secure a settlement to pay for the cost of diagnosis, treatment, and living with severe tinnitus.

What Causes Tinnitus After a Car Accident?

Tinnitus is common following a car accident. This condition manifests as persistent ringing, buzzing, or humming in one or both ears.

It often results from exposure to loud sounds or physical injuries to the head or neck. This causes damage to the inner ear or auditory nerve, resulting in the characteristic ringing or buzzing sounds of tinnitus. The following injuries are most commonly associated with tinnitus after a crash:

Whiplash

Whiplash is a common car accident injury, especially in rear-end collisions. It is caused when your head and neck are jerked backward and forward. This sudden movement can harm the brainstem or inner ear, which leads to ringing in one or both ears after an impact. One study found that 10% of patients with whiplash injuries have otological symptoms like tinnitus, vertigo, or deafness.

Head Trauma

Head trauma from car accidents can affect the auditory system, potentially damaging the inner ear or auditory nerve. This trauma can lead to a ringing or buzzing in the ears. The severity of tinnitus often correlates with the extent of the head injury, ranging from temporary to chronic. In a well-established study, 53% of patients who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) within the last two years experienced tinnitus.

Airbag Deployment

When airbags deploy, they make an extremely loud popping noise, sometimes damaging car occupants’ ears. An airbag explosion can cause the small bones in your ears to fracture and rupture your eardrum, causing a sudden loss of your sense of balance. One review found that airbag deployment resulted in tinnitus in 85% of those with otologic symptoms after a car accident.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety following a car accident can exacerbate or trigger tinnitus. The psychological impact of a collision can heighten awareness of bodily sensations, including tinnitus. Elevated stress levels during the incident or in the months and years following the accident can also result in a persistent ringing in your ears.

When Tinnitus Can Indicate a More Serious Injury

Tinnitus following a car accident can sometimes indicate more serious underlying injuries, especially if accompanied by other symptoms. Here’s what to look for:

  • Following a Head or Neck Injury: Tinnitus after a car accident, especially if you’ve suffered a blow to the head or neck, could suggest a concussion or other traumatic brain injury.
  • With Confusion or Memory Problems: If tinnitus is accompanied by confusion, difficulty remembering things, or changes in consciousness, it could be a sign of a more severe brain injury.
  • Persistent or Worsening Symptoms: If tinnitus persists or worsens after a car accident, it could indicate ongoing issues within the ear or related to a neurological condition.
  • Dizziness and Balance Issues: When tinnitus comes with dizziness or problems with balance, this might point to inner ear damage or vestibular balance disorder.
  • Severe Headaches: If severe headaches accompany tinnitus after an accident, it could indicate a concussion or other serious head injury.

Why You Should Always Seek Medical Care Post-Collision

After a car crash, get a medical check-up, even if you think you’re fine. This is especially true if you experience ringing in your ears. A doctor can diagnose hidden injuries like a concussion or head trauma with imaging scans or cognitive assessments. This not only ensures you receive proper treatment, but also documents your injury’s severity while linking it to the car crash.

This step is vital for your health and also essential in legally documenting your condition. If you need to file an insurance claim for compensation, your attorney can use your medical record to help prove the other driver is liable for your damages.

Get Experienced Legal Representation with Joye Law Firm

If you suffered injuries in a recent car accident in South Carolina, get skilled legal guidance for your case. Our South Carolina personal injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm have a proven track record of success in helping accident victims obtain maximum compensation. We have served South Carolina clients since 1968 and are ready to put our experience to work for you.

Our attorneys can help you obtain a fair settlement and are prepared to go to trial if needed. Arrange your free consultation today and learn how we can help you recover the compensation you deserve

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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