Head trauma and cranial nerve damage

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2019 | personal injury

People in New York who suffer traumatic brain injuries are most likely to have sustained the damage in a fall or car accident, as these are the most common causes of TBI. The Mayo Clinic notes that when the TBI occurs at the skull’s base, it may cause cranial nerve damage.

According to the Merck Manual, cranial nerves emerge through the base of the skull. The symptoms that cranial nerve trauma causes depend on which nerve becomes damaged.


Several of the cranial nerves affect the eyes. For example, the optic nerve transfers information from the eye to the brain. If this nerve is damaged, a person may partially or completely lose sight in one or both eyes. Three other cranial nerves control eye movement, and damage to these may lead to loss of peripheral vision, double vision and other vision problems.


The olfactory nerve provides sensory input to the brain for smell. A head trauma can cause changes to or a complete loss of the sense of smell.


The vestibulocochlear nerve – the 8th –  sends the brain the sensory information for hearing as well as equilibrium. Hearing loss, vertigo and loss of balance can be caused by damage to this nerve.

Facial muscles

Several of the cranial nerves, including the 5th, 7th, 9th, 10th and 12th, control the muscles of the forehead, cheeks, lips, jaw, tongue and throat. Paralysis in one or more areas of the face, difficulty chewing and problems swallowing or speaking may come from damage to these nerves.

Neck and shoulders

The 11th nerve is involved in turning the head and shrugging the shoulders. Damage could lead to paralysis of the muscles necessary to make these movements.