Woman with hands on her head suffering from concussion related tinnitus.

You know that scene in your favorite action movie where something blows up near the hero and the sound goes all high-pitched-buzzing? Well, guess what: that most likely means our hero sustained at least a minor traumatic brain injury!

Obviously, action movies don’t highlight the brain injury part. But that ringing in our hero’s ears represents a condition called tinnitus. Tinnitus is most often discussed from the perspective of hearing loss, but actually, traumatic brain injuries like concussions can also cause this particular ringing in the ears.

After all, one of the most prevalent traumatic brain injuries is a concussion. And they can happen for numerous reasons (for instance, falls, sports accidents, and motor vehicle accidents). How something like a concussion triggers tinnitus can be, well, complex. Fortunately, treating and managing your conditions is usually very achievable.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a specific kind of traumatic brain injury (TBI). One way to view it is that your brain is protected by sitting tightly in your skull. The brain will start moving around inside your skull when something shakes your head violently. But because there’s so little additional space in there, your brain may literally smash into the inside of your skull.

This causes damage to your brain! Multiple sides of your skull can be impacted by your brain. And when this occurs, you experience a concussion. This illustration makes it quite evident that a concussion is literally damage to the brain. Here are some symptoms of a concussion:

  • Ringing in the ears
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness and blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • A slow or delayed response to questions
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion and loss of memory

Even though this list makes the point, it’s in no way exhaustive. Symptoms from a concussion can persist anywhere between several weeks and several months. When someone gets a single concussion, they will typically make a complete recovery. However, repetitive or multiple concussions are a different story (generally, it’s the best idea to avoid these).

How do concussions cause tinnitus?

Is it actually feasible that a concussion may impact your hearing?

The matter of concussions and tinnitus is an interesting one. Because it’s more correct to say that traumatic brain injuries (even minor ones) can result in tinnitus, It isn’t just concussions. That ringing in your ears can be triggered by even minor brain injuries. That might happen in a few ways:

  • Damage to your hearing: For members of the military, TBIs and concussions are frequently related to distance to an explosion. Permanent hearing loss can be triggered when the stereocilia in your ears are injured by the tremendously loud shock wave of an explosion. So it isn’t so much that the concussion brought about tinnitus, it’s that the tinnitus and concussion have the same underlying cause.
  • Nerve damage: There’s also a nerve that is in charge of transmitting sounds you hear to your brain, which a concussion can harm.
  • Disruption of communication: In some cases, the part of your brain that manages hearing can become damaged by a concussion. When this occurs, the messages that get transmitted from your ear cannot be precisely dealt with, and tinnitus may happen consequently.
  • Meniere’s Syndrome: The onset of a condition known as Meniere’s Syndrome can be a consequence of a TBI. When pressure accumulates in the inner ear this condition can happen. Significant hearing loss and tinnitus can become an issue over time as a result of Menier’s disease.
  • Disruption of the Ossicular Chain: There are three bones in your ear that help transfer sounds to your brain. These bones can be pushed out of place by a substantial concussive, impactive event. This can interrupt your ability to hear and cause tinnitus.
  • A “labyrinthine” concussion: When your TBI damages the inner ear this kind of concussion happens. Tinnitus and hearing loss, as a result of inflammation, can be the result of this damage.

Of course it’s significant to note that no two brain injuries are exactly alike. Every patient will get personalized care and instructions from us. Certainly, if you think you have suffered a traumatic brain injury or a concussion, you should call us for an evaluation right away.

When you get a concussion and tinnitus is the result, how can it be treated?

Typically, it will be a temporary scenario if tinnitus is the consequence of a concussion. How long does tinnitus last after a concussion? Weeks or months, sadly, could be the time frame. But, it’s likely that your tinnitus is irreversible if it persists for more than a year. Over time, in these circumstances, treatment plans to manage your condition will be the best strategy.

Here are some ways to achieve this:

  • Masking device: This device is similar to a hearing aid, only instead of helping you hear things more loudly, it creates a specific noise in your ear. This noise is custom tailored to your tinnitus, drowning out the sound so you can focus on voices, or other sounds you actually want to hear.
  • Hearing aid: Sometimes, tinnitus becomes dominant because the rest of the world takes a back seat (as is the case with non-TBI-caused hearing loss, everything else becomes quieter, so your tinnitus sounds louder). A hearing aid can help raise the volume of everything else, assuring that your tinnitus fades into the background.
  • Therapy: In some cases, therapy, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be used to help patients disregard the noise produced by their tinnitus. You ignore the sound after acknowledging it. This technique takes therapy and practice.

In some situations, further therapies may be necessary to obtain the desired result. Treatment of the underlying concussion might be necessary in order to get rid of the tinnitus. Depending on the status of your concussion, there may be a number of possible courses of action. In this regard, a precise diagnosis is key.

Consult us about what the right treatment plan might look like for you.

TBI-caused tinnitus can be managed

Your life can be traumatically impacted by a concussion. When you get concussed, it’s a bad day! And if you’ve been in a car crash and your ears are ringing, you might wonder why.

It may be days later or instantly after the crash that tinnitus symptoms emerge. However, it’s essential to remember that tinnitus after a head injury can be managed effectively. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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