Tinnitus Arising from a Head Injury


As it was Tinnitus Awareness Week last week, our expert Personal Injury solicitors, Melanie Burden and Claire Roantree have taken the opportunity to explain that tinnitus can also be caused by an injury to the head or neck; and to also highlight the debilitating effects that tinnitus can have for someone unlucky enough to suffer with these symptoms on a long term basis.

Head or Neck injuries sustained can cause Tinnitus

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition where the sufferer experiences a noise in the head or ears when no actual external noise is present. It can be temporary, it can come and go, and sadly, for many sufferers it can be a constant cause for pain.

  • It can be heard in the ears or felt in the middle of the head.
  • The noise experienced can be low, medium, or high pitched.
  • Words used by sufferers to describe the sound include buzzing, whistling, hissing, swooshing and clinking.
For those sufferers who experience permanent symptoms it can have a profound effect on their day to day living, causing insomnia, depression and anxiety.

Can You Really Get Tinnitus From A Head or Neck Injury?

Many people are not aware that tinnitus can start as a result of an injury to the head or neck. If the injuries sustained cause an interference with the blood follow to the neck or head, or even with nerves and muscles in the area – tinnitus is a very real possibility.

Claire comments:

"I have worked with many different clients who have reported symptoms of tinnitus from a range of injuries; these include, but are not limited to:

  • Falling objects hitting them on the head such as collapsed ceilings, car park barriers unexpectedly falling, even traffic signs falling on their head,
  • Sporting accidents such as particularly rough rugby tackles, or being struck by a high speed cricket, golf, or rugby ball at high speed,
  • Slips, trips, and falls, with sustained head injuries
  • Whiplash injuries from road traffic accidents
  • Blunt trauma to the neck
  • Road traffic accidents where cyclists are thrown from their bikes, or where horse-riders to fall to the ground.

It is unsurprising that so many people wouldn't link these kinds of injuries to tinnitus. There just isn't enough information out there to inform you about the potential problems that come with many injuries, even after you think they have healed. Often, it is a shock to my clients that their seemingly unrelated injuries could have brought on tinnitus."

How Can It Be Prevented?

In many scenarios, the injured person will not be aware of the danger that they are facing.

  1. You will likely not know that a ceiling is about to collapse, for example. There are some situations where steps can be taken to protect yourself by and wearing suitable safety gear (such as a hard hat if you work on a building site). Whilst this will not completely prevent injury, it will minimise the risks.
  2. It may sound obvious, but if you are a pedestrian walking past a car park exit, avoid walking directly under car park barriers.
  3. It goes without saying that you should always wear your helmet when riding a bike. Make sure you regularly inspect and replace it when becomes worn or damaged.
  4. Always use an approved riding hat when horse-riding, again, regularly inspect it to check for any damage. If you do have an accident you should replace your helmet as the safety could be compromised.

Worried You've Got Tinnitus?

If you've suffered an injury to your head or neck in the very first instance you should make your way to A&E to get a full check up.

If you're concerned that you may have tinnitus as a direct result of a head or neck injury, – you should consult your GP for advice about the symptoms of tinnitus as soon as you can. Potential underlying causes can be ruled out, and treatment can be given if one is identified.

Mel comments:"In the case where a cause cannot be identified, and you do get diagnosed with tinnitus, it is unfortunate that there is no known cure at present. You should speak to your GP about different treatments available to help you manage your tinnitus on a day to day basis. This can include:

  1. CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Treatment
  2. Counselling
  3. Sound Therapy
  4. Tinnitus Retraining Therapy.

The sad reality of tinnitus is that many people suffer without gaining the access to the help and support that they need. The lack of information relating to head and neck injuries and how they can impact tinnitus means that many people fail to make the link, and are subsequently unable to put effective management techniques into place, making their effects even longer-lasting for sufferers."

Simpson Millar Can Help You

If you have got tinnitus as a result of a head or neck injury, life can become unbearable. Our expert team of solicitors could help you gain access to the medical help and alternative treatments to manage your condition.

We deal with claims of this nature on a regular basis, so we understand how distressing tinnitus can be for our clients. We will always give you straightforward, jargon-free advice so you know exactly what you can and can't claim for.

A compensation claim for an injury that has led to tinnitus does not need to be complicated.

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