Inner ear injuries can cause problems related to hearing and balance, causing dizziness and other uncomfortable and life-altering conditions. If your injury could have easily been prevented, such as a car accident which resulted in whiplash, you may be unsure where to turn. Personal injury attorneys Elizabeth M. Quick and Matthew Quick at Quick Law Group, PLLC, in Bellevue, WA, have handled hundreds of personal injury lawsuits. Their team is committed to delivering justice for victims who have suffered an inner ear injury due to another party's negligence.
Understanding How the Inner Ear Works
The inner ear is made up of two main structures: the vestibular system and the cochlea. The vestibular system is involved in balance and the cochlea is dedicated to hearing. The anatomy of the inner ear is dominated by large fluid-filled space and a complex series of tubes which runs through the temporal bone of the skull.
After the outer ear collects sounds waves, they are then funneled through the ear canal into the eardrum in the middle ear. Tiny bones inside the eardrum vibrate and transmit sound to the inner ear. The inner ear amplifies the sound and translates it into electrical nerve impulses along the vestibulocochlear nerve (auditory nerve), which sends signals to the brain.
Inner Ear Injury Symptoms
Injuries to the inner ear may involve disturbances to the vestibular or cochlear systems, or both. The more common inner ear and balance problems include:
- Dizziness or spinning sensation (vertigo)
- Problems with balance or coordination, including walking
- Difficulty maintaining an upright posture
- Hearing loss
- Sensitivity to noises
- Tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears that is constant or intermittent
These effects can be temporary or permanent.
Common Causes of Inner Ear Injuries
The most common causes of inner ear injuries include trauma to the ear or head, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), loud noises, and sudden changes in air pressure.
An impact to the ear or head can occur in any number of ways, such as a car accident or fall, and cause a perilymph fistula. Generally speaking, this condition is an abnormal connection between the inner ear, which contains fluid, and the middle ear, which contains air. This opening causes a leakage of perilymphatic fluid into the middle ear.
There are many overlapping symptoms between perilymph fistula and TBI, so a consultation with a neurologist may be necessary to properly diagnose the condition.
Prolonged Exposure to Loud Noises
People who are exposed to loud noises, such as construction workers, are in danger of permanent inner ear damage. The damage may be due to a singular event, such as an explosion. Alternatively, it can be caused by prolonged and consistent exposure to loud noise over a period of time, such as in a factory.
Recovering from an ear injury can be frustrating and medical bills can add up quickly. The attorneys at Quick Law Group will fight for fair compensation for your accident.
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) results from the damage and eventual death of hair cells in the cochlea, which cannot grow back. NIHL is usually gradual, so patients may not notice it right away. Over time, sounds may seem distorted or muffled, and it could be difficult to understand people when they are speaking.
Treatment and Recovery
The treatment course and its duration will depend on the type and area of ear injury. A common type of therapy for inner ear injury patients is called vestibular therapy, which is an exercise-based program to improve balance and reduce vertigo. On the other hand, some ear injury victims might need permanent hearing aids or other assistive devices.
Are You Suffering from an Inner Ear Injury?
Recovering from an ear injury can be confusing frustrating and medical bills can add up quickly. Regardless of your unique situation, the attorneys at Quick Law Group can fight for fair compensation for your accident. Schedule a free consultation today by calling (425) 576-8150 or contact the firm online.