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Changes after a brain injury

Changes to hearing and dizziness

Hearing

A hit to the outer ear area of the head may cause hearing loss if it:

  • injures the eardrum
  • breaks or moves the small bones in the middle ear
  • damages the nerves of the inner ear that help us hear
  • damages part of the brain that controls hearing

Damage to the outer and middle ear may get better. This means your hearing may get better as well.

But if there’s damage to the nerves of the inner ear and to the part of the brain that controls hearing, it usually doesn’t heal. This means that hearing may not get better if there is damage to these areas.

A hearing specialist, like an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor or an audiologist, can test hearing. They can also do other tests to learn more about the injury and how bad the damage is.

Dizziness

Dizziness and balance issues can happen:

  • if there is a hit to the outer ear area
  • if there is damage or changes to the inner ear and vestibular system (gives you your sense of balance and where you are in space)
  • if there is damage to certain parts of the brain, like the brain stem or cerebellum
  • as a side effect of medicine
  • if there are changes to vision
  • if there are changes in blood pressure (often happens when you get up from laying down or sitting)

Change positions slowly. Don’t get up too fast after lying down. Take time to sit before you stand to give your body time to adjust to changes in position.

An ENT doctor and a physical therapist can test and treat balance disorders.​

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