Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Violent Sports May Cause Hearing Loss

Football player knocked down

Hearing loss is known to occur from age, trauma, loud music, and now it may also be a condition associated with aggressive sports. A recent investigation into hearing loss has revealed anecdotal evidence that supports the claim that violent sports that cause head trauma, specifically concussions, may lead to a greater incidence of hearing loss and tinnitus.

According to WebMD a concussion is, "...a type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by a blow to the head or body, a fall, or another injury that jars or shakes the brain inside the skull. " It's no surprise that people who have played professional football are more likely to suffer a concussion, but a recent survey also found that these men were more likely to have hearing loss and tinnitus. This self-reporting has opened the door for discussion on how violent sports effects hearing. Though the men queried were professional football players, other professional athletes including hockey players and boxers have also voiced concerns that their sport contributed to hearing loss and tinnitus.

So how does this hearing loss happen? It is suspected that hearing loss may associated with head trauma might happen in a couple of ways. Movement of the brain may damage the nerve that connect to parts of the brain that play important role in deciphering sounds. Or hearing loss may be a result of the physical trauma that may actually damage the more fragile parts of the inner ear. Of course, these are long term issues associated with repeated blows, but hearing loss can also occur for short periods and eventually become permanent. According to Medic8.com, "A heavy blow or blunt edge trauma can cause tissues within the ear to swell which leads to a build up of fluids and an increase in air pressure. This results in pain, discomfort and impaired hearing."

This risk of hearing loss associated with violent sports doesn't mean that those who enjoy the rigors and challenges of aggressive activity need to abandon all hope. It simply means that they need to go out of their way to protect their hearing, seek better equipment, and visit their hearing health professional in order to take care of their hearing.

It's not always easy to determine if you or someone you know has suffered a concussion and may be at risk for hearing loss. The video below will help you identify symptoms of a concussion.

See your hearing health professional or audiologist to learn more about help for hearing loss or tinnitus. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!


Loyola University Health System. "Retired NFL players may be at risk for hearing loss and tinnitus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140707134223.htm (accessed February 24, 2015).

Brain and Nervous System Health Center. "What is a concussion?" WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/brain/tc/traumatic-brain-injury-concussion-overview (accessed February24,2015)

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