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How a head injury can impact your hearing

hearing assessment in Calgary for injured hockey player

Even when they’re minor, head injuries and concussions can cause a variety of problems, such as dizziness, confusion, vomiting, headaches and fatigue. However, some serious issues caused by head trauma sometimes go unnoticed, and that’s the case for hearing loss.

How brain injuries affect hearing

The auditory pathway is quite sensitive and can easily be damaged when the head sustains a sudden, violent impact. Possible effects include:

  • Damage to hair cells
  • Ruptured eardrum
  • Damage to bones in the middle ear
  • Damage to tissues and membranes in the inner ear
  • Decreased blood flow to the cochlear nerve

All these injuries can result in hearing loss. Depending on their severity, hearing loss may be short-term or long-term. Ruptured eardrums typically cause only temporary hearing loss while injury to hair cells frequently causes permanent hearing loss.

Major head injuries can also impair the parts of the brain responsible for processing auditory signals.


If one or more of the following symptoms present themselves following a concussion or brain injury, it’s likely that hearing loss or changes to your auditory processing has occurred:

  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Vertigo or nausea
  • Difficulty understanding speech
  • Difficulty determining the origin of sounds
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Sudden loss of hearing
  • Increased sensitivity to certain frequencies or volume ranges

It’s always wise to have your hearing checked by a qualified audiologist after a head injury, whether you present symptoms of hearing loss or not. Very often these symptoms come on so gradually that they go unnoticed.

However, only see an audiologist or hearing aid practitioner after you’ve been treated for your concussion or brain injury. Seeking urgent medical care is always your first priority in this circumstance.


Long-term hearing loss is typically treated in one of three ways:

Hearing aids, which can be worn in or behind the ear, are often the most appropriate treatment option. These small electronic devices improve the hearing of people with hearing loss by amplifying certain sounds in the person’s environment.

Complete hearing care services in Alberta

If you have hearing loss following a brain injury or concussion, let the hearing aid experts at Soundwave Hearing Care fit you with superior-quality, custom-moulded hearing aids. And if you need your hearing evaluated, our qualified audiologists can perform a comprehensive hearing test. Contact us to schedule an appointment in Calgary, Grande Prairie or High River.

All the blogs are reviewed and edited by our clinic's lead audiologist, Dr. Anne Wooliams. Dr. Woolliams is an experienced audiologist specialized in pediatric audiology, auditory processing, and tinnitus/sound sensitivity therapy. She is dedicated to providing top-notch hearing care and helping her clients improve their language and communication abilities. Dr. Woolliams' expertise in literature and linguistics, combined with her passion for helping people improve their language and communication, make her an incredibly valuable asset in the field of audiology. Learn more about Dr. Woolliams.