What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the experience of noise or ringing in your ears, when no actual external noise is present. Tinnitus is a common problem: 1 in 5 people experience it (more than 50 million people). Tinnitus itself is not a disease or a condition. It is actually a symptom of another underlying condition, such as hearing loss related to age, or an ear injury.
Roughly 20 million people experience chronic tinnitus, and 2 million experience severe and debilitating tinnitus. Our San Diego car accident lawyers regularly encounter people who experience tinnitus after a crash.
Types of Tinnitus
There are three general “types” of tinnitus:
- Tonal tinnitus. This is where the ringing or perceived sounds are continuous with well-defined frequencies.
- Pulsatile tinnitus. The perception of pulsating sounds, often in sync with your heartbeat.
- Musical tinnitus. The victim hears “music.” Sometimes it’s the same song on a constant loop. This form of tinnitus is very rare.
Tinnitus doesn’t just affect hearing. It can cause significant negative mental, cognitive, and physical consequences. A little ringing in someone’s ear can be devastating to them.
Causes of Tinnitus Related to Car Accidents
There are several different causes for tinnitus. You can read about a few of them here. Tinnitus after a car accident is usually related to head and neck trauma.
Accident victims suffering from a severe injury to the head or neck can often experience higher tinnitus volume and perceived burden then others who suffer from tinnitus. There is also greater variation in sound, frequency and location.
An airbag deploying can also cause tinnitus.
A traumatic brain injury/concussion, can damage your brain’s audio processing areas and cause tinnitus symptoms. This is a major cause of tinnitus in general, with nearly 60% of all tinnitus cases diagnosed by the U.S. Veterans Administration attributable to mild-to-severe traumatic brain injuries.
How Do You Prove Tinnitus In a Car Accident Case
Proving tinnitus is tough. It is fairly easy to prove other injuries, like a broken bone. An X-ray easily shows a jury you suffer from a bone fracture. Even soft tissue injuries (where muscles, ligaments and tendons are injured) can be proven with diagnostic imaging coupled with consistent complaints of pain.
But how do you prove tinnitus? How does one prove hearing loss? Or even a headache? There are some tests that help measure your subjective perception of tinnitus. Unfortunately, there isn’t a reliable way to objectively show the existence of tinnitus, but these tests performed by an expert medical professional can help prove your case.
What To Do If You Suffer From Tinnitus Caused By A Car Accident
If you suffer from tinnitus after an accident, and that accident was caused by someone else, you need to consult with an attorney right away. Tinnitus is extremely difficult to prove. An experienced attorney can guide you to established medical professionals that are not only great at their day job, but also great at explaining to a jury what you suffer from, and how you got it.