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 probably means our hero sustained at least a minor traumatic brain injury!

To be certain, brain injuries aren’t the bit that most action movies linger on. But that ringing in our hero’s ears signifies a condition called tinnitus. Tinnitus is most often talked about from the perspective of hearing loss, but it turns out that traumatic brain injuries like concussions can also lead to this particular ringing in the ears.

After all, one of the most common traumatic brain injuries is a concussion. And they can happen for many reasons (car crashes, sports accidents, and falls, for example). How something like a concussion causes tinnitus can be, well, complex. Luckily, treating and managing your conditions is typically very attainable.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a particular type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). One way to think about it is that your brain is protected by sitting snuggly in your skull. When anything occurs and shakes the head violently enough, your brain begins moving around in your skull. But because there’s so little additional space in there, your brain may literally crash into the inside of your skull.

This hurts your brain! Multiple sides of your skull can be impacted by your brain. And when this occurs, you experience a concussion. When you picture this, it makes it simple to see how a concussion is quite literally brain damage. Here are some symptoms of a concussion:

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

This list isn’t exhaustive, but you get the idea. Symptoms from a concussion can persist anywhere between a few weeks and several months. Brain injury from one concussion is generally not permanent, most individuals will end up making a total recovery. But repeated concussions can lead to permanent brain damage.

How do concussions cause tinnitus?

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

The question of concussions and tinnitus is an intriguing one. After all, concussions won’t be the only brain traumas that can cause tinnitus symptoms. That ringing in your ears can be activated by even minor brain injuries. That might happen in a couple of ways:

  • A “labyrinthine” concussion: When your TBI injures the inner ear this form of concussion occurs. This damage can create inflammation and cause both hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Interruption of the Ossicular Chain: The transmission of sound to your brain is aided by three bones in your ear. A substantial impact (the kind that can cause a concussion, for instance) can jostle these bones out of place. Tinnitus can be triggered by this and it can also disrupt your ability to hear.
  • Nerve damage: There’s also a nerve that is responsible for sending sounds you hear to your brain, which a concussion can harm.
  • Disruption of communication: In some instances, the portion of your brain that manages hearing can become harmed by a concussion. Consequently, the signals sent from the ear to your brain can’t be correctly processed and tinnitus can be the outcome.
  • Meniere’s Syndrome: The development of a condition known as Meniere’s Syndrome can be caused by a TBI. When pressure accumulates in the inner ear this condition can happen. Significant hearing loss and tinnitus can become a problem over time as a result of Menier’s disease.
  • Damage to your hearing: For members of the armed forces, TBIs and concussions are often related to proximity to an explosion. Irreversible hearing loss can be triggered when the stereocilia in your ears are injured by the incredibly noisy shock wave of an explosion. So it’s not so much that the concussion caused tinnitus, it’s that the tinnitus and concussion have a common root cause.

Of course it’s significant to keep in mind that no two brain injuries are precisely alike. Personalized care and instructions, from us, will be provided to every patient. You should certainly call us for an evaluation if you think you may have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

When you get a concussion and tinnitus is the consequence, how can it be addressed?

Most frequently, tinnitus caused by a concussion or traumatic brain injury will be temporary. After a concussion, how long can I anticipate my tinnitus to linger? Weeks or possibly months, unfortunately, could be the time frame. However, if your tinnitus has lingered for more than a year, it’s likely to be long lasting. In these circumstances, the treatment strategy transitions to managing your symptoms over the long term.

This can be accomplished by:

  • Hearing aid: In a similar way to when you have hearing loss not caused by a TBI, tinnitus symptoms seem louder because everything else is quieter. A hearing aid can help raise the volume of everything else, ensuring that your tinnitus fades into the background.
  • Masking device: This device goes inside your ear a lot like a hearing aid, but it produces specific noises instead of amplifying things. This noise is custom tailored to your tinnitus, overpowering the sound so you can pay attention to voices, or other sounds you actually want to hear.
  • Therapy: In some cases, therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be used to help patients ignore the noise caused by their tinnitus. You acknowledge that the noise is there, and then ignore it. This technique requires therapy and practice.

In some cases, further therapies might be necessary to obtain the expected result. Management of the root concussion might be necessary in order to get rid of the tinnitus. The correct course of action will depend on the status of your concussion and your TBI. In this regard, an accurate diagnosis is key.

Discover what the best plan of treatment might be for you by giving us a call.

You can control tinnitus caused by a TBI

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

It could be days later or immediately after the crash that tinnitus symptoms surface. However, it’s essential to remember that tinnitus after a head injury can be successfully managed. Schedule a consultation with us today.

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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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