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

You Know when you’re viewing an action movie and the hero has a thunderous explosion nearby and their ears start ringing? Well, guess what: that likely means our hero suffered at least a minor traumatic brain injury!

Obviously, action movies don’t emphasize the brain injury part. But that ringing in our hero’s ears signifies a condition called tinnitus. Normally, hearing loss is the subject of a tinnitus conversation, but traumatic brain injuries can also cause this condition.

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

What is a concussion?

A concussion is brain trauma of a very specific kind. Think about it like this: your brain is situated fairly tightly into your skull (your brain is big, and your skull is there to protect it). When anything comes along and shakes the head violently enough, your brain starts moving around inside of your skull. But because there’s so little extra space in there, your brain could literally smash into the inside of your skull.

This hurts your brain! The brain can impact one or more sides of your skull. And when this happens, you experience a concussion. This example makes it quite clear that a concussion is literally damage to the brain. Here are a few symptoms of a concussion:

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

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

How do concussions trigger tinnitus?

Is it really possible that a concussion could affect your hearing?

The question of concussions and tinnitus is an interesting one. Because it’s more accurate to say that traumatic brain injuries (even mild ones) can bring about tinnitus, it’s not just concussions. That ringing in your ears can be set off by even minor brain injuries. That may happen in a couple of ways:

  • Nerve damage: A concussion might also cause damage to the nerve that is responsible for transferring the sounds you hear to your brain.
  • Damage to your hearing: For members of the armed forces, TBIs and concussions are frequently a result of distance to an explosion. Irreversible hearing loss can be triggered when the stereocilia in your ears are injured by the tremendously noisy shock wave of an explosion. Tinnitus isn’t inevitably caused by a concussion, but they definitely do share some root causes.
  • Disruption of the Ossicular Chain: The relaying of sound to your brain is aided by three bones in your ear. These bones can be knocked out of place by a significant concussive, impactive event. Tinnitus can be caused by this and it can also disrupt your ability to hear.
  • Meniere’s Syndrome: The onset of a condition known as Meniere’s Syndrome can be a consequence of a TBI. When pressure builds up in the inner ear this condition can occur. Significant hearing loss and tinnitus can become an issue over time as a result of Menier’s disease.
  • 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 precisely processed and tinnitus can be the outcome.
  • A “labyrinthine” concussion: This kind of concussion takes place when the inner ear is damaged as a result of your TBI. This damage can produce inflammation and cause both hearing loss and tinnitus.

Of course it’s important to keep in mind that no two brain injuries are precisely alike. Every patient will get individualized care and instructions from us. Certainly, if you think you have experienced 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 addressed?

Most frequently, tinnitus caused by a concussion or traumatic brain injury will be short-term. How long does tinnitus last after a concussion? Well, it may last weeks or possibly months. However, if your tinnitus has lingered for more than a year, it’s likely to be irreversible. Over time, in these situations, treatment plans to manage your condition will be the optimal strategy.

This can be achieved by:

  • 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 sounds louder). Hearing aids help your tinnitus go into the background by turning the volume up on everything else.
  • Therapy: Sometimes, patients can learn to overlook the sound by undertaking cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). You accept that the noise is present, and then ignore it. It will take some therapy, practice, and time though.
  • Masking device: This device goes in your ear much like a hearing aid, but it generates particular 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.

Obtaining the expected result will, in some cases, call for additional therapies. Treatment of the root concussion may be necessary in order to get rid of the tinnitus. The best course of action will depend on the nature of your concussion and your TBI. This means an accurate diagnosis is extremely important in this regard.

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

TBI-triggered tinnitus can be controlled

A concussion can be a substantial and traumatic event in your life. It’s never a good day when you get a concussion! And if your ears are ringing, you might ask yourself, why are my ears ringing after a car crash?

Tinnitus could emerge immediately or in the days that follow. However, it’s essential to remember that tinnitus after a head injury can be managed effectively. Schedule a consultation with us right away.

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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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