Otolaryngological complications of occipitocervical injury.
Occipitocervical injuries are rare, accounting for 15% of all fatal spinal trauma. In patients who survive the initial incident, early detection and appropriate management is vital to avoid significant neurological disability and mortality. We present the case of a patient with neck trauma who was initially cleared of spinal injuries in the emergency department but who later developed acute hearing loss. We describe how the investigation of the hearing loss led to the detection of this devastating injury and report its successful management. Patients with persistent neck pain following trauma, particularly in the presence of degenerative spinal disease, should have cervical spine computed tomography to exclude occipitocervical injuries and other occult injuries.