Air Bag Deployment Can Cause Permanent Hearing Loss – Part I

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Air bags save lives in West Virginia every day. However, the rapid and loud explosion required for immediate airbag deployment can cause injuries that result in temporary or permanent hearing loss in car accident victims. The average airbag deployment causes sound pressure equal to 170 decibels – louder than a close-range shotgun blast or a jet engine.

This type of noise exposure is enough to rupture eardrums, cause ear canal bleeding and create permanent “tinnitus.” According to the Mayo Clinic, tinnitus (pronounced TIN-i-tus) is defined as noise or ringing in the ears. It can also exhibit as persistent buzzing, roaring or pulsating sounds in the ears. This condition is serious because it not only affects the way people hear, but it can also cause disruptions in equilibrium, causing unsteadiness and dizziness.

No matter if the car accident is at a low speed or a high speed, airbags will always deploy at the same explosive rate and noise level. Airbags are actually equipped with small explosive mechanisms that inflate them within a fraction of a second. Impact with an airbag can save your life, to be sure, but it can also cause dislocation of sensitive bones in your ear, such as those that transmit sound from the middle ear to the inner ear (cochlea). This is how hearing loss often occurs.

If you or someone you love has experienced tinnitus or hearing loss after an auto accident in West Virginia, contact a personal injury attorney right away. It is important that you have a legal representative to advocate for your rights in the event of hearing loss, since this is a problem that is going to affect the rest of your life. A lawyer can get you adequate compensation for your permanent injury.