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Q. Is it possible to experience hearing loss after skull fracture?

Answered by
Dr. Jagdish Chaturvedi
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 21, 2019

Hello doctor,

Before one and a half months ago, I had a skull fracture on the right side of my head. Is it possible to lose hearing? Because I cannot hear from my right ear since then.

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Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

It is possible to have hearing loss after a head injury, especially if it was as severe as in your case where it leads to a fracture. Our ear consists of three little bones called ossicles which help in taking the vibrations of sound from the ear drum to the inner ear (cochlea). These little bones may have easily been dislocated due to the impact of your injury. This will cause a hearing loss of 40 - 50%.

It may also be possible that the ossicles are intact but your ear drum may have ruptured due to the impact. In this case, you may experience 30-40% hearing loss. The third possibility is that your ear drum and ossicles are intact but there is bleeding within the middle ear from the injury and that is restricting the movement of the ossicles. This may cause 20-30% hearing loss.

The least likely possibility is the injury to the inner ear because it is housed within a very strong bone. Injuries here will lead to more permanent hearing losses. The only way to find out is by getting a hearing test pure tone audiogram (PTA) from an audiologist and an examination of the ear from an ENT specialist. A high resolution CT (computed tomography) scan may also be indicated to look for the status of the ossicles and the inner ear. If it is ear drum injury, ossicular injury or blood collection within the middle ear, it can be treated easily through surgery. You can expect to regain your hearing to a close as normal.

Please do share the report of your PTA with me for a more specific management pathway.


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