What to Do When You Have Tinnitus and Vertigo After a Car Accident

Anyone walking away from a car accident thinks himself lucky.

But seemingly minor injuries, such as tinnitus and vertigo, can appear several weeks after the accident. They are alarmingly common and can have a dramatic effect on your life.

If you or a loved one have been in a car accident recently, it’s essential to know what to do next.

Read on to understand why your tinnitus might be connected to your car accident, and what to do about it.

Understanding Tinnitus and Vertigo

Tinnitus is a diagnosis given to people that feel a buzzing, whistling, hissing, or ringing in the ears.

This experience might be non-stop, day and night, or it might come and go. Many times, it’s accompanied by vertigo.

Both problems are linked to the delicate inner ear.

They can be symptoms of whiplash or a traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by the force of a car accident, the deployment of airbags, or some other trauma to the head. Such head injuries affect five percent of the population each year.

The symptoms can take weeks to show up, or may not at first attract attention. This makes diagnosis difficult.

While both complaints sound rather annoying than debilitating, you might be surprised at the degree of suffering they can cause.

Tinnitus and vertigo can impact your quality of life as well as your career and relationships.

It’s common for sufferers to report depression, loss of sleep, loss of independence, and headaches as a result of these issues. Many people say they have trouble thinking clearly, or remembering things.

This is especially true for sufferers of tinnitus resulting from head injury.

How Does Tinnitus Occur?

One theory of the link between traumatic brain injuries and tinnitus is that nerve networks of the ear are disrupted by the head trauma.

Some say this is a sort of ‘rewiring’ of the brain’s tone map.

This can mean clusters of nerves not normally associated with your hearing pathways are knocked, making them sensitive to sounds. As a result, you’ll experience whistling or ringing in the ear.

The explosive sound of deploying airbags is another culprit.

On impact, airbags deploy so fast that the sound pressure makes a very loud noise that can injure the ear, resulting in tinnitus. The sound is so strong that it can even cause bleeding from the ear canal.

The physical impact of the head connecting with the airbag can cause hearing issues, hearing loss, tinnitus, and vertigo.

The middle ear is responsible for our sense of balance. Considering this fact, it’s not hard to understand why vertigo is linked to head trauma and ear complaints, such as tinnitus.

Ear problems following a car accident may also include itching, sharp pain, or leaking fluid. In some cases, these symptoms go away without treatment.

What Else to Look for

If you’ve been in a car accident and experience tinnitus or vertigo, watch out for symptoms of head injury. You should get urgent medical attention if you notice any of the following:

  • Facial paralysis
  • Double vision
  • Frequent falls
  • Clumsiness
  • Difficulty speaking or slurred speech
  • Severe headaches

Treatment Options

There are many treatments for tinnitus and vertigo. But you may have to try many before finding one that works for you. This doesn’t come cheap.

The medical expenses left with victims of car accidents can last much longer than the injuries themselves.

For some sufferers, the symptoms of tinnitus and vertigo won’t go away until they treat the underlying traumatic brain injury. Only a medical professional can advise on the best course of action in your case.

Treatment for tinnitus can include:

  • Hearing aids
  • Sound therapies such as white-noise machines
  • Medication
  • Anti-depressants
  • Alternative medicine

The Whiplash Connection

In many cases, the cause of tinnitus and vertigo after a car accident or other head trauma is linked to whiplash.

Whiplash is a neck strain or injury caused by a rapid movement of the head. Nerves, intervertebral joints, and ligaments might have been damaged in the jerking movement of the head. It’s a painful and debilitating condition.

This problem is a common result of car accidents. Symptoms can be delayed by 24 hours following the head trauma, but within a few days of the incident, its symptoms generally start to show.

Physical therapy and pain meds are the standard treatment. Immediate treatment can involve ice, followed by skilled muscle manipulation and exercise. Years ago, whiplash was treated with neck braces.

If whiplash is the cause of your tinnitus, it may require surgery or physiotherapy to treat it.

It is important you see your doctor for a thorough check-up. They may refer you to a hearing specialist (audiologist) or an ear nose and throat doctor (otolaryngologist).

Once you receive help, you’ll be looking at those medical bills wondering how on earth you’re going to pay them. You’ll be wondering…

What’s Next?

So now you have seen your doctor. Potentially a specialist or two. Or three or four.

You’ve tried a few treatments, including some medication. Maybe all these things have worked – or perhaps they haven’t.

Either way, chances are you now have a list of medical expenses. Perhaps the accident wasn’t your fault at all.

At this point, you want to find an experienced attorney.

You need someone who sees you as an individual and understands how these injuries affect your life. You must choose one who will fight for your compensation, and take the stress out of the litigation process.

Once you connect with an attorney, he may need to visit the car crash scene. He will also speak to your medical team and collect statements from yourself and others affected.

If you’ve been injured, Stephen Babcock is standing by to help you.

Your case — and your future will be our top priority.  When we meet with you, we will review your case with you for free and after you hire us you will have Stephen’s 100% Client Satisfaction Guarantee.

If you have any questions about this article or want to visit with a lawyer for free, call Stephen at (225) 222-2625 or contact us here.

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– Stephen Babcock