Can airbags damage your hearing?

On Behalf of | Aug 27, 2021 | Uncategorized

If you are in a serious car accident, you are sure to appreciate your car’s airbags. After all, airbags are directly responsible for saving nearly 51,000 lives in the 30 years between 1987 and 2017. They may also allow you to walk away from a crash that would have put you in the hospital in the pre-airbag era.

To be effective, airbags must inflate before your head smashes into the steering wheel. This requires a small explosion, which deploys the airbag at speeds up to 200 miles per hour. Regrettably, an airbag may damage your hearing in a few different ways.

Sound damage

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a single noise above 120 decibels may be sufficient to cause temporary or even permanent hearing loss. When airbags deploy, the explosion often exceeds 150 decibels.

Traumatic brain injuries

If your head hits a deployed airbag, you may suffer a TBI. If the TBI affects your brain’s auditory cortex, the part of the brain that controls hearing, you may lose your ability to hear clearly or at all. Unfortunately, TBI-associated hearing loss may not present itself until hours or days after the accident.


Whiplash occurs when your head moves rapidly in many directions during a car crash, including when your head bounces off a deployed airbag. This violent head movement may damage your inner ear. Whiplash-related ear injuries may cause tinnitus, balance issues, nausea, headaches or hearing loss.

Your ability to hear is vital for essentially everything you do. Ultimately, if your car’s inflated airbag caused your hearing loss, you may be eligible for substantial financial compensation from any driver who contributed to the crash.