West Coast Wellness

Sensitivity to Noise After an Auto Accident

Many individuals will experience sensitivity to noise after an automobile accident. This happens most often as a result of the individual sustaining a concussion. A concussion is a mild form of traumatic brain injury that affects how an individual’s brain functions. The effects of concussions can be short-term, lasting only a few hours or days, or they can be long-term. Concussions occur when the head and brain move quickly forwards and backwards, causing the brain to bounce and twist around the inside of the skull. This movement damages the cells and structures within the brain, causing physical and chemical changes affecting the brain’s function.
Hyperacusis is a condition suffered by some individuals as a result of a concussion after an automobile accident. Hyperacusis is an extremely debilitating hearing disorder where the over-amplification of sound in the auditory pathways causes an unusual sensitivity to noises and tones. While some individuals may only experience mild symptoms related to hyperacusis, other individuals can experience severe pain, balance issues, and, in some cases, even seizure-like activity in the brain. For individuals suffering from hyperacusis, the sound vibrations that turn into electrical signals after entering the ears are misinterpreted by the brain. When exposed to a bothersome noise, a person affected by hyperacusis can have a severe emotional reaction due to the level of discomfort they experience.
Individuals suffering from hyperacusis may feel nervousness or anxiety related to being in stores, movies, or restaurants. While individuals suffering from this disorder may not feel that their hearing is impaired, they often report being unable to focus on only one sound. Affected individuals may feel as if all the sounds in the room reach their brain without any type of filtering system. Therefore, individuals experiencing hyperacusis can find it impossible to function in many everyday environments because of simple ambient background noise. Accordingly, their quality of life can be greatly compromised.
Another common sensitivity to noise after a concussion is related to tinnitus. Tinnitus is a ringing, buzzing, or hissing noise in the ear which occurs as a result of damage to the inner ear or to the hearing nerves, and the part of the brain that controls hearing.
In some cases, individuals who suffer PTSD as a result of an automobile accident are also more susceptible to noise sensitivity. Many PTSD survivors suffer from what is known as Exaggerated Startle Syndrome, which causes anxiety and actions that are extreme and often irrational in response to loud noises and bangs. Moreover, noises that are reminiscent of those during traumatic events can trigger memories of the trauma and cause flashbacks for PTSD sufferers.
If you experience sensitivity to noise after an automobile accident, a proper diagnosis starts with seeing a medical professional. West Coast Wellness is here to help. Since 1984, Dr. Barr has treated patients throughout the Southwest Florida area who suffer from injuries related to automobile accidents. Call (941) 210-3969 to get the relief that you deserve.
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