If you have been involved in a car accident more than once you will know that determining what injuries you suffer just after the accident is difficult. Some injuries may be immediately noticed while others may take time to surface. One injury that may be a result of a car accident is hearing loss. This article will discuss hearing loss, car accidents, and personal injury claims.
Generally, hearing loss is associated with aging or being exposed to loud noises in loud environments. As a result, hearing loss personal injury is commonly linked to workplace accident cases. Two main forms of hearing loss:
Conductive hearing loss - this occurs when any part of the ear is unable to properly transmit sound waves to the eardrum
Sensorineural hearing loss - is hearing loss as a result of damage in the inner ear, central nerve, or sound processing portions of the brain. Often this is related to genetics and can range from moderate deafness to complete deafness.
However, in a car accident Anchorage [https://www.crowsonlaw.com/alaska-personal-injury-lawyers/automobile-accidents/] there are three ways an individual may suffer hearing loss; these are:
Head trauma - during an accident an individual may hit their head on the windshield, side windows, steering wheel, or another part of the vehicle resulting in traumatic brain injury. As a result of the TBI, they may damage the auditory pathway at any point between the ear and the brain. This is possible even if the person suffers a mild concussion. They may suffer an injury of:
- ruptured eardrum
- inner ear tissue
- membrane and hair cell damage
- damage to small bones in the ear
- blood flow disruption to the cochlea
Deployment of the airbag - according to an article[Researcher Says Airbags Pose Threat To Hearing (consumeraffairs.com)] published in 2007, Dr. G. R Price found that 17% of individuals exposed to airbag deployment suffer from permanent hearing loss. This is due to the noise that is made by an airbag deploying. According to one website [Hearing Loss from Air Bags? Effect of Air Bag Deployment on Hearing (hearinghealthmatters.org)] the noise levels of airbags deploying are:
- 160 decibels for the side front airbag
- 170 decibels for dual airbag deployments
- 178 decibels for side airbags
The threshold of pain as a result of noise to the human ear is 140 decibels; being exposed to this level can result in permanent hearing loss.
Whiplash - the violent jerking movement that results in whiplash can damage the muscles and soft tissues in one’s neck. Depending on the whiplash severity it can damage the inner ear structures and lead to tinnitus, vertigo, and hearing loss.
Because of the permanence associated with hearing loss compensation for such an injury is likely to be a sizable amount. And this is the case even if the hearing loss is only partial. To receive damages for hearing loss, the plaintiff must be able to prove that their hearing was unaffected before the car accident occurred. Further, they must prove that it is the actions of the defendant that caused them to suffer hearing loss. In 2007, a Connecticut man was awarded $1.5 million in damages when a tire from a Jeep Wrangler exploded resulting in hearing loss and constant ringing in his ears.