A routine drive turns into disaster when a negligent driver collides with your vehicle causing your head to snap quickly from side to side–whiplash. After a few minutes, you come back to your senses but realize the immense pain you’re in and the high-pitched ringing in your ears. Days later, you’re safe at home, but the ringing is still there. A trip to the doctor’s office reveals that you have tinnitus caused by the whiplash you experienced in the accident. Weeks turn to months, and it hasn’t gotten better. Neither has your anxiety the accident caused. What can you do? Who can help you regain a sense of normalcy?

If you or a loved one have recently developed tinnitus after a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the absence of an external source, meaning that you hear the high pitched sound without there being a physical source of it. Ringing in your ears after a car accident is uncomfortable, can be painful, and may result in a loss of hearing.

Contact an experienced attorney from Montlick today to learn about the possible actions you can take to file a personal injury claim.

Tinnitus is More Serious than Many Think

Tinnitus develops when the noise or trauma of the car accident causes the injured party to hear ringing in the ears, buzzing, roaring, or pulsating sounds; these are called phantom noises. Tinnitus can appear in one or both ears and may cause more extensive problems such as difficulty sleeping and concentrating due to its ability to come and go. One minute, you may be hearing like normal, and the next a loud, high pitched wailing appears making it nearly impossible to focus or rest. Tinnitus affects 25 million U.S. adults. Anxiety and depression may develop in individuals suffering ear ringing after a car accident as their overall quality of life has been altered.

Symptoms of tinnitus may include but are not limited to:

  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Loss of or decreased hearing
  • Earache or ear pain
  • Headache
  • Nasal congestion
  • Dizziness
  • Mood swings
  • Memory issues

Tinnitus and Mental Health

Not only can tinnitus take a physical toll on your body by causing insomnia and headaches, but it can deeply affect your mental health as well. According to a study published by the National Library of Medicine, 20% of people who suffer from ringing in the ear after being hit in the head in an accident will seek medical help for depression, anxiety, and even suicidal ideations. Being unable to escape the loud, high, or low-pitched noises tinnitus emits, it’s easy to understand how those suffering from it may feel trapped and isolated– especially since tinnitus has no cure.

Tinnitus after a car accident deeply impacts the quality of life, devastating its victims. Tinnitus patient Andy Gorel, a musician and professional photographer, describes tinnitus as “a pesky ringing sound started up and never subsided.” In a 2022 Wondermind article, Gorel laments that he was “scared and filled with regret knowing how important hearing was for my career, I was not prepared for all the other consequences tinnitus could have on my mental health.” The non-stop ringing caused Gorel to be anxious, stressed, and depressed, attributing to the development of his insomnia.

In the same Wondermind article, Gail Brenner, an audiologist in Philadelphia, stated that the stress of constant ringing can even cause phonophobia– a fear of certain sounds– or hyperacusis– sensitivity to sounds. This is why working with an audiologist who understands all aspects of tinnitus–both physical and mental– is crucial to helping you get your life back on track after a car accident.

The torment of tinnitus can steal joy from your life. If your tinnitus was caused by another person’s negligence, you deserve compensation– our team of capable lawyers will help you get it.

How Does Tinnitus Develop?

Though it’s not known for sure what exactly causes tinnitus after a car accident, scientists believe that when damage to the inner ear happens, it changes the signal carried by your nerves to the part of the brain that processes sound. This is largely believed as the “phantom sounds” are developed by the brain in your auditory cortex.

Recent developments have also shown that “abnormal interactions between the auditory cortex and other neural circuits may play a role.” This is because the auditory cortex communicates with other parts of the brain and studies have shown that some people with tinnitus have changes in their non-auditory brain regions.

Understanding Ear Ringing After a Car Accident

Ringing in the ear after being hit in the head may be classified as subjective, objective, neurological, or somatic tinnitus. Subjective tinnitus is the most common form and means that you will be able to hear noises that are not caused by external sources. This usually occurs following exposure to very loud noises and may come and go suddenly, lasting anywhere from hours to more than a year.

Unlike subjective tinnitus, objective tinnitus can be heard by other people, though it is rare. Most cases are caused by involuntary muscle contraction or vascular abnormalities.It may coincide with their heart rhythm.

Neurological tinnitus is associated with underlying conditions that affect the brain. If tinnitus impacts the brain’s auditory capabilities, it becomes more difficult to hear clearly. Underlying conditions may include diseases or disorders such as Meniere’s disease that affects the middle ear.

Somatic tinnitus is linked to the sensory system, associated with movement and touch. This type of tinnitus is usually triggered by muscle spasms or other mechanical issues in the head and neck. It can be caused by inflammation, head and neck injuries, impacted wisdom teeth or tooth extractions, and car accidents.

What Causes Tinnitus?

Numerous factors may cause tinnitus after a car accident, though the most common are the noises caused by the collision and the physical trauma it imposes. The force of impact alone can do serious damage to your hearing if the eardrum or middle ear has been affected. Factors from the crash that cause tinnitus may include whiplash, traumatic brain injury (TBI), chronic neck pain, and airbag deployment.

If you were recently involved in a car accident and have noticed problems like physical discomfort in your ears, ringing in your ears, or hearing loss, the collision is likely at fault for the change. Consulting with your doctor to schedule a hearing test is the best way to know for sure.


Whiplash is a common car accident injury. It is caused when your head and neck are suddenly jerked in one direction or another. This sudden movement can cause damage to the inner ear or brainstem, which leads to ringing in one or both ears after an impact.

Chronic Neck Pain

Chronic neck pain can cause long-lasting discomfort and pain in the back of your head, shoulders, arms, or hands. This type of injury may be caused by whiplash and lead to ringing in one or both ears.

Damage To the Eardrum or Middle Ear

If your eardrum– a thin membrane covering the inner ear– is damaged during an accident, it may lead to problems such as ringing in your ears, dizziness, vomiting, headaches, fatigue, or irritability. This is caused by fluid buildup inside the middle ear, leading to pressure changes.

Traumatic Brain Injuries/Concussions

Ringing in your ears after a car accident could be caused by a traumatic brain injury. TBIs are caused by a strong force pushing on the brain and may result in ringing in the ears, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, fatigue, and irritability. When suffering from a TBI, you may also experience a concussion and cognitive problem.

Airbag Deployment

The noise airbags make when they are deployed, a loud pop, can damage your ears. The explosion causes tiny ear bones to fracture and could lead to your eardrum rupturing, along with a loss in your sense of balance.

How long does tinnitus last after a car accident?

Tinnitus may be temporary or permanent, making it crucial to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment. While there is no cure for it, consulting with a doctor will allow you to cope with the ringing in your ears. For example, they may suggest hearing aids, sound therapy, tinnitus retraining therapy, medication, or lifestyle changes such as avoiding alcohol and coffee. For the best results, talk to a doctor as soon as possible.

Treating Tinnitus

Despite that it can’t be cured, ringing in the ear after being hit in the head can be treated to minimize its impact. According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NICDC), 25 million adults in the United States are affected by tinnitus alone, making the need for reprieves that much more important. Sound therapies, behavioral therapies, and medications are the most popular forms of treatment for tinnitus.

Sound therapies

Some research has shown that exposure to sound has the ability to reverse changes brought on by hearing loss, thus stopping tinnitus from occurring. It’s possible that sound therapy may also cover the noise produced by tinnitus, or help to distract you from it. Sound therapy most commonly uses sound generators placed near your bed to play relaxing noises such as rain, a fan, or waves to keep the tinnitus at bay.

Sound therapy also includes the use of hearing aids which amplify external noises. Wearable sound generators may be used as well, which are small electronic devices that fit in the ear to emit soft sounds. Combination devices, which go in your ear, provide sound amplification and sound generation in one device. These devices can be used to treat tinnitus in people with hearing loss.


Behavioral therapy focuses on helping you reduce the impact of tinnitus on your life. Learning about your condition may reduce anxiety and can teach you techniques to cope, avoiding worsening your symptoms through limiting your time around loud sounds.

Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches you to identify negative thoughts that cause worry, and to change your response to them. This form of therapy teaches users to focus on positive changes that will limit the impact tinnitus has on you.

Retraining therapy uses counseling and sound therapy to help your brain no longer register that tinnitus has an effect on you. It “retrains” you to recognize the sounds produced by tinnitus as neutral, while a device in your ear emits a low-level sound to aid you in adjusting to the presence of tinnitus.


While there are no medications capable of treating tinnitus specifically, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants or anxiety medication to help suppress the symptoms. Keep in mind that no supplements or vitamins have been proven to help with tinnitus, despite common advertisements claiming so.

Other Common Car Accident Injuries

Tinnitus caused by a car accident is life-altering. Depending on the force of the impact, you may also experience other injuries from the same crash, capable of causing dangerous injury or permanent disability. Some injuries may heal, while others could result in long-term cognitive and physical impairment. Injuries that you may encounter include:

  • Internal Injuries: Internal bleeding or organ damage can occur even if there are no visible signs of trauma. It is important to seek medical attention after an accident to identify and treat all internal conditions correctly.
  • Head and Neck Injuries: Whiplash is the most common injury from a car accident, but other head and neck injuries can include traumatic brain injuries, concussions, skull fractures, or spinal cord damage.
  • Soft Tissue Damage: Soft tissue damage includes sprains, strains, cuts, and bruises that may not be immediately apparent but can cause long-term pain or mobility issues if left untreated.
  • Broken Bones: Car accidents often result in victims sustaining broken bones or fractures. The severity of these injuries is determined by the type of impact and the speed at which the vehicles were traveling at the time of impact.
  • Emotional Trauma: Even after physical wounds heal, emotional trauma from a car crash can linger for years. Victims may experience depression, anxiety, fear, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Additional injuries may include disfigurement, decapitation, amputation, spinal cord injuries, brain damage, dislocations, hyper-extensions, and wrongful death.

At Montlick, we have experience with just about any and all injuries you could think of. Our team has represented victims who have suffered from:

When a Car Accident Causes Tinnitus, You May Be Able to Recover Compensation.

Tinnitus may be considered a compensable injury if you were owed a duty of care by someone or if they were negligent which caused the tinnitus to develop. If your tinnitus was caused by exposure to excessive noise, or if you’ve developed tinnitus after a car accident, you may be eligible for compensation.

The victim of tinnitus that has developed after a car accident can be fully compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The settlement amount you may be owed for your ear injury will vary depending on the diagnosis and prognosis. To ensure that you are fully compensated, allow your attorney from Montlick access to your medical records and doctors notes.

Can I recover disability?

If you’ve developed tinnitus after a car accident, you may be able to receive disability. Victims of tinnitus and other hearing loss injuries could receive 20% of disability payments or less. However, that number could increase if your condition prevents you from working.

To begin receiving disability payments, you must first be able to show that your health is not improving with proper medical treatment. According to an article from Healthline, if you are unable to perform everyday tasks such as working full-time, attending school, or caring for yourself and others, you could be considered for disability. This is further supported by the United States Social Security Administration’s definition of a disability– a condition either fatal or lasting at least 6 months that prevents you from working.

Steps to take after a car accident

  1. Seek treatment. When the doctor asks about your symptoms–what they are and when they started– be honest. They will conduct a physical examination, likely examining your ears, nose, oral cavity, oropharynx, and the cranial nerve function. In some cases, a hearing test may be administered as well as an MRI or CT scan.
  2. Get a referral to an otolaryngologist. An otolaryngologist specializes in ear, nose, and throat conditions. As they are highly trained in diagnosing conditions such as tinnitus, seeing an otolaryngologist will ensure you receive proper evaluation and treatment.
  3. Early documentation. As soon as your symptoms start, begin documenting them to establish a link between the car accident and ringing in the ear. This will help to minimize the risk of billing issues with your insurance company so that you receive coverage for your treatment.
  4. Talk to Montlick. Seeking legal counsel from a highly-skilled, experienced personal injury attorney from Montlick is a crucial step in your tinnitus case. Our attorneys have a solid understanding of what you’ll need from us and how we can best help.
  5. Don’t sign anything. Make sure that you consult with your attorney before signing any documents related to your accident. Doing so may have significant implications to your compensation and the overall result of your case.

How A Montlick Attorney Can Help

Although we can’t reverse the tinnitus, what we can do is work to improve your chances of recovering fair compensation. Our team of dedicated lawyers aggressively pursue your right to compensation if you’ve got ringing in the ear after being hit in the head in a car accident. A few ways we’ll do this is by:

  • Collecting all relevant medical evidence: Medical records are essential for establishing damages in a personal injury lawsuit. This may include notes from your doctor or the hearing specialist that diagnosed you. We ensure they’re preserved promptly to remain valid throughout your legal proceedings.
  • Gathering accident report forms: Your attorney from Montlick will make sure to get the car accidents report form from the police and other emergency personnel that were present on scene. This will help corroborate the impact the accident and injuries have on your life.
  • Collecting video evidence: Video evidence may include dash cam footage, CCTV, traffic cams, and more. We’ll make sure to pull in order to prove that you were not at fault in the accident and therefore deserve compensation for your tinnitus.
  • Speaking with witnesses: Your attorney will work hard to track down valuable witnesses to your accident. For cases involving tinnitus, witness statements could include friends and family who have observed how your condition has affected you.


The Montlick legal team can:

  • Identify all of your accident-related losses
  • Gather evidence
  • Determine who’s responsible
  • Obtain proof of your losses
  • File your case
  • Deal with attorneys for defendants in your case
  • Organize all case-related materials
  • Negotiate a settlement
  • Proceed to trial if necessary


After a devastating car accident that’s resulted in a painful ringing in your ears, you need a personal injury attorney who will fight for what’s right, not easy. Call the tinnitus/car accident attorney Atlanta relies on. Call Montlick at 1 (800) 529-6333.

FAQs about tinnitus and car accidents

How long does ringing in the ear last after a car accident?

Generally speaking, ringing in your ears after a car accident could last three months before being considered chronic. After three months, tinnitus is generally treated as a chronic condition. However, this can vary in people depending on how the injury was caused (whiplash vs hit to the head). If your injury caused a concussion, that may also affect the length of time tinnitus affects you.

What are the long-term effects?

As tinnitus can develop into a chronic problem, the risk of it affecting your quality of life and productivity is high. Experiencing tinnitus after a car accident may cause anxiety, depression, insomnia, and lead to difficulty concentrating on work, making it hard to maintain a job. Because of this, it is crucial to seek professional help, both medical and legal, as soon as possible if you are experiencing ear ringing after a car accident.

Can tinnitus be treated?

While there is no cure for tinnitus, treatments are possible depending on its cause. Your doctor may recommend sound therapy, behavioral therapy, medications, hearing aids, or lifestyle changes to best help you cope with ringing in the ears.

Can it be proved the crash caused your tinnitus?

To ensure the connection between your tinnitus and the crash is made, seek medical attention immediately, even if you feel fine. Sometimes ear injuries or TBIs are delayed, meaning you won’t experience symptoms right away. If you undergo any of the following symptoms, consult a doctor as soon as possible:

  • Ringing in the ears
  • Discomfort in your ears such as painful burning or high pressure in one or both ears
  • Dizziness or trouble with balance
  • Muffled or loss of hearing
  • Difficulty distinguishing voices or understanding words

Can I file a claim for tinnitus caused by a car accident?

Simply put, generally yes, you can. You have the right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party for pain and suffering, as well as medical expenses as long as you can prove they caused the accident. Other than pain and suffering or medical bills, your compensation may also include lost wages and property damages.

What can I expect during my legal case?

To determine if you have a case, speak with an experienced car accident attorney from Montlick as soon as possible. We’ll review the facts and your medical records to advise you on the best course of action. If we determine that we’re able to help, we’ll get to work gathering records, witness reports, and evidence to support your defense during your tinnitus after a car accident case.

How can I get the most compensation for my tinnitus?

Seek out a personal injury attorney immediately if you have ringing in the ear after being hit in the head in a car accident. Once you see a doctor, they will refer you to a nose, ear, and throat specialist who will further evaluate your symptoms and ultimately determine their severity. From there, we’ll take what they document and begin building your case. The sooner you do seek medical care, the sooner we can get you compensated.