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  • Writer's pictureDr Josh Bonine DC

Whiplash Injury Causes Deafness, Tinnitus, and Vertigo

Whiplash Injury Causes Deafness, Tinnitus, and Vertigo

Image Compliments of Medical Legal Art via The Doe Report ( Copyright © 2011 Medical Legal Art, All rights reserved. Clinically correlating bodily injury to causal relationships can be a complex medical legal task. Sometimes there are straight forward correlations that take little time and effort. On the other hand, there may be symptoms that are more subtle and those that are unfamiliar with assessing the trauma victim or the scientific literature may miss these signs. One of the more interesting examples of these types of examination findings are the ontological (ear, nose and throat) aspects of whiplash injury. In a recent paper by Tranter and Graham (2009), the authors stated, “Approximately 10% of patients who have suffered with whiplash injury will develop ontological symptoms such as tinnitus, deafness and vertigo” (p. 53).

In relation to the deafness section of the paper, the authors report, High frequency hearing loss is the most common form of hearing loss associated with whiplash injury and is easily demonstrated with a pure tone audiogram” (Tranter & Graham, 2009, p. 54). Regarding tinnitus, the authors stated, There is no medical treatment for tinnitus” (Tranter & Graham, 2009, p. 54). When addressing the vertigo component of the paper they stated, Following whiplash the most common type of vertigo we see is benign paroxysmal vertigo (BPPV), which is characterized by a short duration of vertigo, associated with movement of the head" (Tranter & Graham, 2009, p. 54). "BPPV therefore is usually curable. However, the prognosis for other forms of labyrinthine damage depends on the degree of compensation that occurs by the central nervous system” (Tranter & Graham, 2009, p. 55). When an injury victim is examined, it is critical that all body systems are reviewed and the astute clinician will not be sidetracked by common symptoms in common areas.


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Tranter, R. M. D., & Graham, J. R. (2009). A review of the otological aspects of whiplash injury. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 16(2), 53-55.


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