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

You know that scene in your favorite action movie where something explodes near the hero and the sound gets all high-pitched-buzzing? Well, at least some level of minor brain trauma has likely happened to them.

To be sure, brain injuries aren’t the bit that most action movies linger on. But that ringing in our hero’s ears represents a condition called tinnitus. Normally, hearing loss is the subject of a tinnitus conversation, but traumatic brain injuries can also trigger this condition.

Concussions, after all, are one of the more prevalent traumatic brain injuries that happen. And they can happen for a wide variety of reasons (for example, falls, sporting accidents, and motor vehicle accidents). How something like a concussion causes tinnitus can be, well, complicated. But here’s the good news: even if you suffer a brain injury that triggers tinnitus, you can usually treat and manage your condition.

Concussions, exactly what are they?

A concussion is a specific form of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Think about it this way: your brain is situated pretty tightly inside your skull (your brain is large, and your skull is there to protect it). When anything occurs and shakes the head violently enough, your brain begins moving around in your skull. But your brain could end up smashing into the inside of your skull because of the small amount of extra space in there.

This causes harm to your brain! Multiple sides of your skull can be impacted by your brain. And when this happens, you get a concussion. When you picture this, it makes it easy to understand how a concussion is literally brain damage. Here are a few symptoms of a concussion:

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

This list isn’t exhaustive, but you get the idea. Symptoms from a concussion can last anywhere between several weeks and a few months. When somebody gets a single concussion, they will normally make a full recovery. But, repeated or multiple concussions are a different story (generally speaking, it’s the best idea to avoid these).

How is tinnitus caused by a concussion?

Can a concussion interfere with your hearing? Really?

The question of concussions and tinnitus is an intriguing one. Not surprisingly, concussions won’t be the only brain traumas that can cause tinnitus symptoms. Even minor brain injuries can result in that ringing in your ears. Here are a couple of ways that might happen:

  • Nerve damage: There’s also a nerve that is responsible for sending sounds you hear to your brain, which a concussion can harm.
  • Damage to your hearing: For members of the military, TBIs and concussions are frequently caused by proximity to an explosion. And explosions are really loud, the sound and the shock wave can damage the stereocilia in your ear, causing hearing loss and tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t always caused by a concussion, but they definitely do share some common causes.
  • Disruption of the Ossicular Chain: There are three tiny bones in your ear that help transfer sounds to your brain. These bones can be pushed out of place by a significant concussive, impactive event. Tinnitus can be caused by this and it can also disrupt your ability to hear.
  • Disruption of communication: In some instances, the part of your brain that manages hearing can become harmed by a concussion. Consequently, the messages sent from the ear to your brain can’t be properly digested and tinnitus can be the outcome.
  • A “labyrinthine” concussion: When your TBI injures the inner ear this form of concussion happens. This damage can produce inflammation and cause both hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Meniere’s Syndrome: A TBI can cause the onset of a condition called Meniere’s Syndrome. When pressure accumulates in the inner ear this condition can occur. Eventually, Meniere’s syndrome can result in significant tinnitus and hearing loss.

Of course it’s important to note that no two brain injuries are precisely alike. Personalized care and instructions, from us, will be given to every patient. You should definitely give us a call for an assessment if you think you may have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

When you suffer from a concussion and tinnitus is the consequence, how can it be treated?

Typically, it will be a temporary challenge if tinnitus is the consequence of a concussion. After a concussion, how long can I anticipate my tinnitus to linger? Weeks or months, unfortunately, could be the time frame. However, if your tinnitus has lingered for more than a year, it’s likely to be permanent. Over time, in these circumstances, treatment plans to manage your condition will be the optimal strategy.

Here are some ways to achieve this:

  • Hearing aid: Sometimes, tinnitus becomes pronounced 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 seems louder). Hearing aids help your tinnitus go into the background by turning the volume up on everything else.
  • Therapy: Sometimes, patients can learn to ignore the sound by engaging in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). You ignore the sound after acknowledging it. It will require some therapy, practice, and time though.
  • Masking device: This device goes inside your ear much like a hearing aid, but it produces particular noises instead of making things louder. Your particular tinnitus symptoms dictate what sound the device will generate helping you ignore the tinnitus sounds and be better able to pay attention to voices and other external sounds.

In some situations, further therapies may be required to achieve the expected result. Clearing up the tinnitus will frequently call for treatment to the root concussion. Depending on the status of your concussion, there could be a number of possible courses of action. As a result, a precise diagnosis is incredibly important in this regard.

Talk to us about what the ideal treatment plan may look like for you.

TBI-triggered tinnitus can be controlled

Your life can be traumatically impacted by a concussion. When you get concussed, it’s a bad day! And if your ears are ringing, you may ask yourself, why are my ears ringing after a car accident?

Tinnitus may emerge instantly or in the following days. However, it’s important 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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