Vehicle safety has advanced considerably in recent decades. In addition to seat belts and other safety features, your car, truck or SUV probably has at least one airbag. After all, federal law requires most vehicles made after September 1, 1998, to have both driver-side and passenger-side airbags. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, airbags save lives. Unfortunately, though, your car’s airbag may contribute to serious injuries. Hearing loss is one of these. 

Symptoms of hearing damage 

Your body’s stress response may mask crash-related injury symptoms. Therefore, following any motor vehicle accident, you should seek a full medical examination to be certain you have not sustained serious bodily harm. 

Nevertheless, if you have any of the following symptoms, you may have hearing damage from the crash: 

  • Ear pain, numbness or tingling 
  • Dizziness, nausea or disorientation 
  • Tinnitus or ear ringing 
  • Blood or discharge from your ears or nose 
  • Difficulty hearing sounds or conversations at normal volumes 

Ear injuries from airbags 

When a car’s airbag deploys, it may make a loud or explosive sound. This sound may damage the tiny hairs that help you hear noises as well as your eardrum. Even if the deployment sound does not harm your hearing, you may smash your ear against the inflated airbag. This, of course, may cause you to sustain trauma to your outer ear or the tiny bones that make up the inside of it. 

You do not have to hit your ear on an airbag to suffer hearing loss. If you sustain a traumatic brain injury in a car crash, you may develop hearing complications immediately or over time. 

Regardless of how you injure your ear in a car accident, the results may be the same. That is, you may either partially or completely lose your ability to hear. Fortunately, if your car’s airbag causes you to sustain hearing loss, you may be able to pursue compensation for your ear injury from the individual who caused the collision.