Skip to main content
Los Angeles Youth Sports Injury Lawyers

The Truth Behind Contact Sports and Hearing Loss


The Truth Behind Contact Sports and Hearing Loss

Sports and Inner Ear Damage Have a Controversial Connection- How Does Contact Impact Hearing?

It’s that time of year again. The soccer cleats are being put away, and the hockey sticks are coming out. Tackle football season is ready to explode- along with the ongoing debates about the dangers of contact sports. Damage to various parts of the brain during a contact sport or water sport can lead to hearing loss and even meningitis in more extreme cases.

Sports injuries- even when wearing the right protective equipment- can be dramatic- but some less obvious damage can be most life-changing for the athletes, including facial paralysis, hearing loss, vertigo, and other sad conditions.

Concussions in contact sports are a controversial and much-discussed topic, but hearing loss is one of the less talked about symptoms. Hearing health is at risk for many players, and patient satisfaction for healing such conditions is less than comforting. It all starts with a pre-assessment test. Questions you will be asked include did you play sports involving water (swimmer’s ear from barotrauma, water polo), heavy contacts like rugby, football, martial arts, or those registering loud noises, such as competitive shooting.

Contact Sports and Concussions

Contact sport is exhilarating- but undeniably dangerous. In the US alone, as many as 3.8 million concussions are recorded annually.

Wearing proper protective equipment such as custom-fit hearing protection can limit the impacts, but it is still a form of traumatic brain injury- albeit the least severe.

Symptoms of Concussions

  • Headaches
  • Loss of balance
  • Sensitivity to noise or light
  • Nausea
  • Feeling tired
  • Feeling sad
  • Memory problems
  • Irritability or anxiousness
  • Mood swings.

Steps are taken to prevent future injuries, but hearing loss is something that happens over time and does not get enough attention. Many ex-pros end up with hearing aids or have cauliflower ears- but there are other impacts to consider.

How Does Concussion Affect Hearing Health?

The ear is a complicated thing made up of many tiny parts. A player’s inner ear, middle ear, ear canal, tiny ear bones, and nerves are at risk from consistent trauma.

Ears are also closely linked to the brain- so a head injury can hit them hard. Nerves get stretched, fibers inflamed, and connections loosened- all things can lead to hearing loss and the need for hearing aids.

Possible Impacts of Concussions on the Ear

Hearing loss is one of the less-discussed complications of concussions in contact sports.

Common hearing loss issues relating to concussions and injuries sustained playing sports include:

  • Temporarily popped ears that won’t un-pop
  • Difficulty separating and understanding individual noises in a crowd
  • Trouble making out words despite passing hearing tests.

Here are some of the more complicated, long-term issues people could face.

Necessary Use of Hearing Aids

In the old days, a hearing aid was large and ugly, presenting an obvious cosmetic issue for a condition dealing with hearing loss. A person may have no choice but to wear a hearing aid to help them cope with moderate hearing loss. Hearing devices can make it easier for people to go about their daily lives.

But the need for one can impact mental health – especially in younger victims needing to hear, but avoid seeming like they have a hearing or brain condition around their peers. However, if you enjoy the water, especially divers at a deeper ocean depth, you may need to tape the hearing aid battery door to keep it dry and working. More current technology uses a fairly standard waterproof version to obviate this obvious problem, however, and also protect the inner cochlea. Parents need to prioritize self-esteem when selecting a hearing aid to assist communication and hearing sounds.

Permanent Hearing Loss

In extreme cases, your doctor may diagnose hearing loss as total or permanent. Complete hearing loss is rare- but not unheard of. If the trauma is severe, crucial nerves can be destroyed. Once the tiny connections in the ear have sustained damage of a certain nature, it is almost impossible to recover them.

To treat this condition, the importance of avoiding additional risks of hearing loss is paramount to all the victims. In extreme cases, victims may need to use assistive devices or even learn sign language. Wearing a hearing aid is a temporary fix for some, but for others, they never recover and have to deal with poor hearing for the rest of their lives.

Long-Term Tinnitus – Ringin and Clicking Noises

Tinnitus is a constant ringing in the ears or an annoying, clicking sound. Football players are at high risk for this condition, but it is usually short-term after a concussion.

Unfortunately, it can also be a long-term problem. Although a specially designed hearing aid can help reduce the symptoms, tinnitus can be debilitating when it is not under control.

Why Hearing Loss and Concussion Must Be Discussed More

It is essential to educate athletes on the dangers and repercussions of repetitive head trauma on their hearing. Sports bring immense joy to many lives- but it shouldn’t be at the expense of the player’s health.

Continuing education could prevent hearing loss by encouraging people to be more aware of the higher risk and take steps to improve hearing protection during the game.

Contact a Trusted Attorney to Learn More About Your Hearing Loss Rights

If you have suffered hearing loss because of concussions and injuries from playing contact sports, you could have a claim. Speak to an expert in personal injury law at Ehline Law.

Anyone who suspects they may have a concussion should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Head injuries can change a person’s life, and extreme physical sports are unfortunate culprits we need to look out for with our children and pro athletes as well. Find out where you stand legally with a dedicated brain injury lawyer who cares. Call Ehline Law today at (213) 569-9642.

Firm Archive

Main Los Angeles Location

633 W 5th Street #2890 Los Angeles, CA 90071 (213) 596-9642.
Animation of injury lawyer, Michael Ehline Animation of injury lawyer, Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.