Despite major advancements in vehicle safety in recent years, car accidents remain a leading cause of injury in Minnesota and across the country. In fact, every year, more than 4.4 million individuals seek medical treatment for the injuries they suffer in motor vehicle crashes.
While car accidents often leave drivers and passengers with broken bones, nerve damage and other life-altering injuries, damage to smaller parts of the body can also be catastrophic. Here are three serious ear-related injuries you may suffer in a motor vehicle accident.
Your outer ear captures sounds and sends sound waves into your inner ear where your brain processes them. Regrettably, the trauma of a car accident may cause an immediate amputation of one or both of your ears. Even if your ear merely suffers an injury, doctors may have to amputate it due to infection, necrosis or interruption of blood supply.
2. Eardrum rupture
To protect you, your car’s airbags must deploy with great force in under a second. This requires an explosion, which may rupture your eardrum. The impact of the crash may also be loud enough to cause eardrum damage. Either way, a ruptured eardrum can lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss.
3. Auditory cortex damage
Your ears are useless without your auditory cortex, the part of your brain that converts sound waves into useful information. This cortex, which sits near the surface of your temporal lobe, is vulnerable to damage from blunt force trauma. Put simply, if you hit your head during a car accident, you may never hear the same again.
You may not realize you have suffered a potentially catastrophic ear injury immediately. Ultimately, going to the emergency room for a full medical evaluation is one of the more effective ways to protect your ability to hear clearly.