Accident victims, in addition to their other injuries, may suffer long-term problems with their vision or hearing. Motor vehicle accidents are a common cause of this, particularly when the occupant experiences a traumatic brain injury. Brain injuries may also result from falls or falling objects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says roughly 1.4 million Americans endure brain injuries every year.
Eye injuries can be caused in automobile accidents by broken glass, deployment of an airbag, impact to the head, flying debris, and more. Airbags inflate rapidly and can cause corneal damage, detachment of an eyeball, and retina-related problems. Generally, the injury will be immediately apparent after a collision.
Injuries that take several days to appear are likely complications, such as a detached retina or related to a cataract. After a motor vehicle accident, these are the most common eye injuries that were reported in emergency rooms in the U.S.:
Most can be treated, but some eye injuries are more severe and may do permanent damage, including:
If you experience vision problems after a blow to the head or eye, seek prompt medical attention.
Hearing loss describes a weakened ability to hear sounds. Hearing impairment refers to the degree that sound must be amplified for someone to detect it. When deafness is deemed profound, the person has a hearing loss of 81 decibels or more. Of those who experience head trauma in an accident, the likelihood of hearing loss ranges from 7% to 50%.
Another injury that can cause hearing loss is a temporal fractures. Most of these injuries are mild; however, scar tissue may begin to develop that can obstruct a person’s hearing. A temporal fracture may also cause bleeding from an inner cut that travels out of the ear canal.
Dr. G. Richard Price spoke regarding airbag-related ear damage at the National Hearing Conservation Association conference recently. Somewhat surprisingly, his testing shows hearing damage is more severe when the vehicle’s windows are open due to pressure-related factors. Regulations for U.S. vehicle airbags require them to be larger and more powerful, making them more likely to cause hearing damage compared to other countries.
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Those who suffer a sudden impairment to key senses like vision or hearing are inclined to experience depression and anxiety. You may be faced with the inability to work, drive, or carry conversations the way you used to. If your accident was caused by another party’s negligence, that party should also be responsible for your intangible losses.
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