A hit to the outer ear can injure the eardrum, or break or dislocate the small bones in the middle ear. The inner ear can also be damaged, which affects the nerves that help us hear. Damage to the outer and middle ear can usually be fixed.
If the part of the brain that controls hearing is damaged, it can cause problems with the brain’s ability to change sounds into meaningful messages. Damage to the nerves of the inner ear and to the part of the brain that controls hearing can’t be fixed. This damage may be permanent and may not get better.
A hearing specialist (an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor or audiologist) may be asked to do an assessment such as a hearing test to find the type of injury and how bad it is.
The same hit to the outer ear can also affect the way the ear works to help us keep our balance. Other causes can include damage to certain parts of the brain, or as a side effect of medicine.
The person with the injury may say he feels light-headed or dizzy if his sense of balance or his circulatory system is upset, such as if his blood pressure is low, especially with sudden changes in posture such as lying to standing.
He should change positions (like going from lying flat to walking) slowly. Taking time to sit before standing gives the body time to adjust to changes in position.
Our vestibular system, deep in our inner ear tells us how we are moving in relation to the environment and gravity. It relies on sensory receptors in the inner ear.
The person may be referred to an ENT doctor and/or a physiotherapist who can assess and treat balance disorders.