How Can Contact Sports Contribute to Hearing Loss?

Professional and recreational sports are a big part of American culture. If you drive around St. Louis on a weekend morning, you’ll find hundreds of adults and children participating in recreational sports. Though playing sports has many benefits, there are still some health risks, especially with contact sports.

How Are Head Injuries and Hearing Loss Related?

Players on soccer field

Concussions are relatively common in contact sports. According to the Brain Injury Research Institute, 10% of all athletes who play contact sports sustain concussions each year. Concussions cause jarring movements of the brain that can interrupt neuron signals in the auditory system. This can lead to hearing impairment in the inner and middle ear.

Concussions aren’t the only type of head injury that can lead to hearing loss. Cauliflower ear (resulting from direct trauma to the ear) harms the outer part of the ear and can block blood flow and create blood clots, which can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss.

How to Help Prevent Head Injuries

When participating in contact sports, it’s important to take steps to prevent head injuries. Properly fitted helmets and other headgear are critical in sports like football and rugby. If an athlete suffers a head injury, they should receive appropriate medical attention right away, especially if they lose consciousness or appear confused shortly after getting hit.

As a proactive measure, athletes should strengthen their neck muscles and work on their reaction time as part of their training. Several studies have shown a correlation between improved reaction times, strong cervical flexors (neck muscles), and a reduced risk of concussions. Research indicates that being able to anticipate contact and stiffen the neck may help reduce the violent head movements that lead to concussions.

Schedule a Hearing Test With Our Audiologists

Untreated hearing loss can lead to several health complications and impact your ability to communicate with others. If you’ve suffered a concussion or any other head injury while playing sports, you should schedule a hearing test with one of the licensed audiologists at Associated Hearing Professionals. Our staff has decades of experience providing adults with hearing tests, evaluations, and other forms of treatment. We’re passionate about improving your quality of life through better hearing. Book an appointment at one of our locations in the St. Louis area by calling 314-725-2686 or contacting us online.