Silent symptoms can linger after concussions

Community Jul 31, 2013 Hamilton Mountain News

By Gord Bowes, News staff

Many people don’t understand the effects of a concussion can last long after any physical pain has passed, says a Hamilton audiologist.

Head injuries can often result in hearing-related problems, but that’s something that often isn’t considered, particularly after a sports-related injury, says M.J. DeSousa of Connect Hearing, 360 Main St. East.

“We tend to focus on the acute symptoms from a concussion,” she says. “We don’t tend to think about the longer term implications and risks associated with those type of injuries.”

For younger people, concussions are somewhat common and usually sustained from sports or leisure-related activities, says DeSousa. For people over 40, such injuries are often related to falls.

As all of the organs related to hearing are located in the head. Behind the ear drum are three little bones called ossicles, which transfer the sound energy from the air to the fluid-filled cochlea, which transmits a signal to the brain. Because of this, there is always a risk to hearing any time there’s any kind of impact to the skull, says DeSousa. When the head is struck, or strikes an object, with great force, the brain bounces around inside the skull. The connection between the brain and the hearing system can be sheared.

If the ossicles become damaged or dislocated, they will no longer transmit sound to the cochlea with the same efficiency. There can also be nerve damage and problems to the balance system.

DeSousa says anyone who has suffered a head injury should look for these symptoms: ringing in the ear, muffled sound or a feeling the ear is plugged.

Sometimes a hearing problem will resolve on its own; sometimes surgical intervention is required.

“If you have a head injury, regardless of age, it is important to have a hearing test done,” says DeSousa.

The test — which Connect Hearing provides at no charge — should be done shortly after the injury. Patients are advised to get a followup test several months later to check for progressive deterioration.

“When you are thinking about head injury, get that baseline hearing test done and come back and get another one done three to six months later so if there is any progressive aspect of hearing loss related to the injury, we’ll be able to treat it sooner,” says DeSousa.

“Sometimes it’s hard for people, especially younger people, to notice there has been some hearing loss, especially in cases where there is damage to the nerves,” she says.

 

Don’t wait to get hearing tested

It’s a good idea for adults to get a baseline hearing test, says M.J. DeSousa of Connect Hearing.

The Province of Ontario pays for infant hearing tests, so any congenital problems can be identified early in life, but after that residents are on their own.

DeSousa suggests children also be tested at least once during school years and then again in their adult years, so there is a baseline and any problems can be identified by an audiologist early.

She also suggest a test every 12 months if you are over 55, or if you work in a loud environment.

Connect Hearing offers tests at no charge.

“We don’t want cost to be a barrier to identification,” says DeSousa.

Tests take about 30 minutes.

“It’s simple, painless” she says.

See more at connecthearing.ca/hearing-test.

Silent symptoms can linger after concussions

Community Jul 31, 2013 Hamilton Mountain News

By Gord Bowes, News staff

Many people don’t understand the effects of a concussion can last long after any physical pain has passed, says a Hamilton audiologist.

Head injuries can often result in hearing-related problems, but that’s something that often isn’t considered, particularly after a sports-related injury, says M.J. DeSousa of Connect Hearing, 360 Main St. East.

“We tend to focus on the acute symptoms from a concussion,” she says. “We don’t tend to think about the longer term implications and risks associated with those type of injuries.”

For younger people, concussions are somewhat common and usually sustained from sports or leisure-related activities, says DeSousa. For people over 40, such injuries are often related to falls.

As all of the organs related to hearing are located in the head. Behind the ear drum are three little bones called ossicles, which transfer the sound energy from the air to the fluid-filled cochlea, which transmits a signal to the brain. Because of this, there is always a risk to hearing any time there’s any kind of impact to the skull, says DeSousa. When the head is struck, or strikes an object, with great force, the brain bounces around inside the skull. The connection between the brain and the hearing system can be sheared.

If the ossicles become damaged or dislocated, they will no longer transmit sound to the cochlea with the same efficiency. There can also be nerve damage and problems to the balance system.

DeSousa says anyone who has suffered a head injury should look for these symptoms: ringing in the ear, muffled sound or a feeling the ear is plugged.

Sometimes a hearing problem will resolve on its own; sometimes surgical intervention is required.

“If you have a head injury, regardless of age, it is important to have a hearing test done,” says DeSousa.

The test — which Connect Hearing provides at no charge — should be done shortly after the injury. Patients are advised to get a followup test several months later to check for progressive deterioration.

“When you are thinking about head injury, get that baseline hearing test done and come back and get another one done three to six months later so if there is any progressive aspect of hearing loss related to the injury, we’ll be able to treat it sooner,” says DeSousa.

“Sometimes it’s hard for people, especially younger people, to notice there has been some hearing loss, especially in cases where there is damage to the nerves,” she says.

 

Don’t wait to get hearing tested

It’s a good idea for adults to get a baseline hearing test, says M.J. DeSousa of Connect Hearing.

The Province of Ontario pays for infant hearing tests, so any congenital problems can be identified early in life, but after that residents are on their own.

DeSousa suggests children also be tested at least once during school years and then again in their adult years, so there is a baseline and any problems can be identified by an audiologist early.

She also suggest a test every 12 months if you are over 55, or if you work in a loud environment.

Connect Hearing offers tests at no charge.

“We don’t want cost to be a barrier to identification,” says DeSousa.

Tests take about 30 minutes.

“It’s simple, painless” she says.

See more at connecthearing.ca/hearing-test.

Silent symptoms can linger after concussions

Community Jul 31, 2013 Hamilton Mountain News

By Gord Bowes, News staff

Many people don’t understand the effects of a concussion can last long after any physical pain has passed, says a Hamilton audiologist.

Head injuries can often result in hearing-related problems, but that’s something that often isn’t considered, particularly after a sports-related injury, says M.J. DeSousa of Connect Hearing, 360 Main St. East.

“We tend to focus on the acute symptoms from a concussion,” she says. “We don’t tend to think about the longer term implications and risks associated with those type of injuries.”

For younger people, concussions are somewhat common and usually sustained from sports or leisure-related activities, says DeSousa. For people over 40, such injuries are often related to falls.

As all of the organs related to hearing are located in the head. Behind the ear drum are three little bones called ossicles, which transfer the sound energy from the air to the fluid-filled cochlea, which transmits a signal to the brain. Because of this, there is always a risk to hearing any time there’s any kind of impact to the skull, says DeSousa. When the head is struck, or strikes an object, with great force, the brain bounces around inside the skull. The connection between the brain and the hearing system can be sheared.

If the ossicles become damaged or dislocated, they will no longer transmit sound to the cochlea with the same efficiency. There can also be nerve damage and problems to the balance system.

DeSousa says anyone who has suffered a head injury should look for these symptoms: ringing in the ear, muffled sound or a feeling the ear is plugged.

Sometimes a hearing problem will resolve on its own; sometimes surgical intervention is required.

“If you have a head injury, regardless of age, it is important to have a hearing test done,” says DeSousa.

The test — which Connect Hearing provides at no charge — should be done shortly after the injury. Patients are advised to get a followup test several months later to check for progressive deterioration.

“When you are thinking about head injury, get that baseline hearing test done and come back and get another one done three to six months later so if there is any progressive aspect of hearing loss related to the injury, we’ll be able to treat it sooner,” says DeSousa.

“Sometimes it’s hard for people, especially younger people, to notice there has been some hearing loss, especially in cases where there is damage to the nerves,” she says.

 

Don’t wait to get hearing tested

It’s a good idea for adults to get a baseline hearing test, says M.J. DeSousa of Connect Hearing.

The Province of Ontario pays for infant hearing tests, so any congenital problems can be identified early in life, but after that residents are on their own.

DeSousa suggests children also be tested at least once during school years and then again in their adult years, so there is a baseline and any problems can be identified by an audiologist early.

She also suggest a test every 12 months if you are over 55, or if you work in a loud environment.

Connect Hearing offers tests at no charge.

“We don’t want cost to be a barrier to identification,” says DeSousa.

Tests take about 30 minutes.

“It’s simple, painless” she says.

See more at connecthearing.ca/hearing-test.