When That Auto Accident Rings Your Bell!

Why are my ears ringing after my auto accident?

Many people who sustain whiplash type injuries from an auto accident experience the common symptoms such as: neck pain, stiffness and headaches. These are due to the damages inflicted upon the structures of the neck including the ligaments, muscles and small neck joints called facets.

There is, however, a relatively common symptom experienced that many find hard to associate with an auto accident and that is ringing in the ears or tinnitus. By definition, tinnitus is perception of sound in the absence of any corresponding external sound. There is significant research that has demonstrated tinnitus associated with whiplash type injury.

One study found 55% of the victims reported tinnitus within the first 3 months of the injury. (1) Another study demonstrated that about 15% – 20% of auto accident victims develop what is called the “late whiplash injury syndrome,” resulting in many complaints such as neck pain, headaches as well as sensorineural symptoms such as tinnitus and hearing loss. (2)

For many auto injury patients, the cause of their tinnitus is mechanical or structural problems in the upper neck: where the skull rests upon the neck or cervical spine. According to Abbas Montazem, “Tinnitus very often is caused by instability of the craniocervical junction. It very frequently manifests as a high-pitched whistle. Prolapsed intervertebral disks, discoligamentous injury,……can cause tinnitus.” (3)

It is a common procedure in our practice to take motion x-rays, or flexion/extension view so the patient bending their head forward and back. In many instances we find abnormal or limited motion of the head and first vertebra. When specific chiropractic adjustments are used, many find their tinnitus relieved or greatly diminished.

If an auto accident has “rung your bell” and you are suffering from tinnitus, call us at (314) 731-4383 or request an appointment here. We will perform a detailed examination, x-rays and give you treatment options for your condition.

As a 1984 graduate of Life Chiropractic College, Dr. Martin Schmaltz has years of helping those who have been injured in auto accidents. He has extensive training and study in how the injury happens as well as the specific treatments and documentation to help his patients. He has a great working relationship with many attorneys in the St Louis area and is know for his detailed notes and diagnosis of the injured patient.

(1) Otol Neurotol 2003;24[5]:734
(2) Claussen CF, Claussen E. Neurootological contributions to the diagnostic follow- up after whiplash injuries. Acta Otolaryngol Suppl 1995; 520 Pt 1:53-56.
(3) Montazem A. Secondary Tinnitus as a Symptom of Instability of the Upper Cervical Spine: Operative Management. Int Tinnitus J. 2000;6(2):130-133