Additional management / services

Sound icon Hearing symptoms

Not all your symptoms may be a direct result of concussion. An injury that causes concussion can also cause trauma to other parts of the body. The middle and inner ear are areas that are commonly affected by a force to the head. As a result, you may have a mix of concussion and ear-related symptoms.

Ear symptoms can include:

  • Loss of hearing in one or both ears
  • Noises or ringing in the ears or head (Tinnitus)
  • Loss of balance, dizziness or understanding of position in space
  • Sense of pressure, fullness or pain in one or both ears
  • Clear discharge or bleeding from the ear canal
  • Dizziness triggered by loud noises, sneezing or coughing (semicircular canal dehiscence or SCCD)
  • Loud internal body noises of own voice, chewing, footsteps or eye movements (autophony) (also SCCD)

It is important to know what is causing these symptoms so that you can receive the correct advice for management. The ear related symptoms (hearing, ear pressure, fullness and tinnitus) can be referred to an Audiologist initially and symptoms such as discharge and vertigo to ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist doctor. You may need to see both specialists.

 

Sound icon Neck symptoms

Not all your symptoms may be a direct result of concussion. An injury that causes concussion can also cause trauma to other parts of the body. The neck is an area that is commonly affected by a force to the head. As a result, you may have a mix of concussion and neck related symptoms.

Neck symptoms can include:

  • Neck pain and/or stiffness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Reduced balance
  • Fatigue or fogginess
  • Visual disturbance, such as difficulty focusing on a target

Some of these symptoms can be common to both concussion and neck related injury. You need to know what is causing your symptoms, so you can get the right treatment.

For some people, their neck symptoms settle quickly. Others continue to have symptoms. Note: these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have a major injury or damage to your neck.

Your symptoms can be assessed by a physiotherapist with training in these conditions. The physiotherapist will screen for serious injury or damage, help you understand your symptoms and work out the factors that are contributing to your symptoms.

Most neck symptoms will settle with minimal treatment. Your physiotherapist will assess for any factors that may delay recovery, so that they can be managed accordingly.

Treatments for neck symptoms usually involve advice and exercise. Being an active participant in your treatment is important for recovery. 'Hands on' treatments, such as joint mobilisation and massage, are sometimes helpful as part of an overall treatment program. However, they are not usually a long-term solution.

Your progress should be reviewed regularly. If your recovery is slower than expected, seek a referral to a physiotherapist with further training in this area (such as a musculoskeletal or pain physiotherapist).

Sound icon Vision symptoms

Vision symptoms, especially blurred or variable vision, headaches and increased light sensitivity, are very common following a concussion. This may be due to effects on the brain’s ability to control focusing and eye coordination. For some people these vision symptoms will improve quickly. Some people can continue to experience significant visual problems which interfere with their ability to read, use a computer, drive or even walk with good balance.

It is important to consult an optometrist with expertise in neuro-optometric rehabilitation, who can accurately assess the vision problems to determine what is causing the symptoms. Treatments may include spectacle lenses, prisms, tinted lenses, or vision therapy if indicated. Your eye health will be assessed as part of the comprehensive assessment.

The Brain Injury Vision Symptoms Survey (BIVSS) (PDF) is a well-researched and validated way of identifying the presence, and grading the severity, of vision symptoms following a concussion or other head injury. It can be filled out for your own records to keep track of your symptoms over time, as well as for a visit to an optometrist experienced in neuro-optometric rehabilitation care.

Sound icon Financial Matters

It is essential to minimise stress and worry in the period following a concussion. For many people, financial matters may be a significant source of concern, even causing them to resume activities or return to work before they are ready.

It is important to be aware of and consider all financial options that may be available to you, in order to best manage any associated concern.

 

Income Protection or Salary Continuance Insurance

  • You may have either income protection or salary continuance insurance in place, whether you are aware of the details or not.
  • To find out whether this applies, contact your superannuation fund and speak to the relevant insurance or claims team.
  • You may find it beneficial to do this with the support of a family member or friend, if dealing with finances feels challenging or overwhelming. Alternately, you can access assistance from a professional, such as a social worker on your therapy team.
  • Before making the call, prepare the information you will need to provide, which will include your superannuation fund or membership number, located on any statements or letters you have received.In addition, you will need to provide your identifying details, such as full name, date of birth and address.
  • The claims team will confirm whether or not you have income protection or salary continuance insurance.
  • If either of these is in place, they will send you a claims pack of documents for you and your treating team to complete, as well as providing guidance concerning the claims assessment process.
  • Depending on your type and level of cover, you may be eligible for up to 75% of your usual income.
  • A waiting period may apply before regular monthly payments commence, with taxation payable on any income received over time.
  • The length of time that these payments are available for will again depend on the specifics of your insurance cover, with some individuals being paid up to the age of 65 years, if meeting the relevant criteria.
  • Should you be in a position to return to work in a reduced or graded capacity whilst receiving income protection or salary continuance payments, you will be required to report your earnings and the monthly payment will be adjusted accordingly.

 

Centrelink

  • Depending on your particular financial circumstances, you may be eligible for a benefit from Centrelink during a period in which you are unable to work.
  • Potential benefits include:
    • JobSeeker Payment – with mutual obligation exemption
    • Crisis Payment or financial hardship provisions – such as if you are experiencing family violence
    • Adjustments to existing Austudy or Abstudy obligations
  • For advice and assistance concerning your Centrelink options, please attend a local office or access Centrelink's Payment and Service Finder (external site)

 

Workers' Compensation

  • In the event that you were injured during the course of your employment, you may be eligible to make a workers’ compensation claim.
  • If accepted, this type of claim potentially offers compensation for loss of earnings, reasonable medical and allied health expenses, and various other costs.
  • Find out more about potential workers’ compensation entitlements and the associated claims process at the WorkCover WA website (external site).

 

Insurance Commission of Western Australia (ICWA)

  • If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, including as a pedestrian or cyclist on the road, you may be eligible to lodge a claim with the Insurance Commission of Western Australia (ICWA).
  • ICWA offers a range of financial schemes, depending on whether you were at fault in the accident or not.
  • >If your injury is minor, requires minimal treatment and fault was attributed to another driver, an ICWA claim is usually processed quickly and may meet your treatment costs and loss of earnings for any days taken off work.
  • If you have been injured on the road, you can make a claim by contacting ICWA on +61 (8) 9264-3333 or via the Online Crash Reporting Facility (external site).

 

Criminal Injuries Compensation

  • Should your injury have occurred as a victim of a criminal offence, you may be eligible for Criminal Injuries Compensation (CIC).
  • The CIC Scheme applies only to incidents that have been reported to the police, with potential compensation available regardless of whether the perpetrator of the offence has been identified, charged or convicted.
  • Information about claims and the assessment process can be found on the Victims of Crime website (external site).

 

Multiple Claims

  • Please note that although multiple financial avenues may apply to your particular circumstances, it is only appropriate to claim an ongoing income from one source at any given time.
  • To protect yourself from incurring a debt that requires future repayment, please ensure that you declare all claims made and income received, as required by law.

Community education and support

In Between The Ears are a WA support link that provides quality education and support regarding the effect’s concussion can have. They can provide an educational presentation to sporting clubs, schools and organisations where they speak about their personal experiences and struggles with concussion. They have linked with the leading concussion specialists, here in WA, to help provide the latest research and science. See Inbetween the ears (external site) for more information.

Last Updated: 20/05/2022