A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can change your life in an instant. This type of injury can happen at any time: at work, at home, at school, in your car, riding your bike, etc. The type and severity of the TBI will determine whether or not you will suffer from vision or hearing loss in the days, weeks, and months following the injury. We wanted to explore vision and hearing loss due to TBI, so you can be prepared for the future.
When does a brain injury cause hearing loss?
Hearing loss can occur following a traumatic brain injury in one of two ways: due to damage to the bones in the middle ear, or due to the way the brain processes sound. The victim of a TBI can suffer injuries to any area of the auditory pathway in one or both of their ears. Hearing loss can also cause a lot of complex issues for the victim, which include the following:
- Central auditory processing disorder, which affects how a person understands speech
- Sensorineural hearing loss, a permanent disorder affecting the inner ear which leaves people unable to distinguish softer sounds
- Tinnitus, a repetitive “ringing” in the ears, though some people may also experience other noises
- Vestibular impairment, which is damage to the inner ear affecting balance
Brain injuries which cause hearing loss can be frustrating at best, and devastating at worst. Imagine never being able to hear your child’s voice again, or having to quit your job because you cannot process what other people are saying.
How vision loss associated with TBI
Brain injuries of any severity can affect your vision, either temporarily or permanently. Victims of TBI who suffer vision loss can do so in two different ways: visual acuity loss and visual field loss.
Visual acuity loss affects the clarity with which you see. People who are nearsighted and farsighted have visual acuity problems, and damage to the brain can also lead to these conditions. Blurred and double vision are more serious effects of acuity loss.
Visual field loss is the more serious of the two conditions caused by TBI. Visual field loss occurs in one of four ways:
- Hemianopsia, is when half of your visual field is gone
- Quadranopsia, is when a quarter of the visual field is gone
- Homonymous hemianopsia, is when the same quarter or the same half is no longer available in both of your eyes
- Bitemporal hemianopsia, is when the outer half or inner half of both visual fields are missing
Post Trauma Vision Syndrome and brain injuries
Post Trauma Vision Syndrome (PTVS) commonly occurs after a concussion, and it affects not only how visual information is processed in your brain, but also your eyes’ ability to work together. Per Neurovisual Performance, PTVS is:
“caused by damage to regions of the brain that are involved in various aspects of visual function. This disrupts the stored “programs” for how the visual system functions…. Post Trauma Vision Syndrome may affect one or more specific areas of visual function, so the effects can be varied. PTVS can affect one’s ability to read, comprehend, and sustain attention. It can also cause dizziness/vertigo and headaches/migraines.”
While PTVS can be treated, the damage to the brain is often permanent.
Did a loved one suffer a TBI in Nashville? Do you believe they are dealing with hearing or vision loss as a side effect of the brain injury? If so, it’s time to call Rocky McElhaney Law Firm about your situation. Call our office at 615-425-2500 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices located in Nashville, Hendersonville, and Knoxville to better serve our clients.