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 loud explosion nearby and their ears begin to ring? Well, at least some level of minor brain trauma has likely happened to them.

Obviously, action movies don’t emphasize the brain injury part. But that ringing in our hero’s ears signifies a condition called tinnitus. Tinnitus is most often talked about in the context of hearing loss, but it turns out that traumatic brain injuries such as concussions can also cause this particular ringing in the ears.

After all, one of the most prevalent traumatic brain injuries is a concussion. And there are quite a few reasons concussions can happen (for example, falls, sports accidents, and motor vehicle crashes). How something like a concussion causes tinnitus can be, well, complex. Fortunately, treating and managing your conditions is usually very attainable.

Concussions, exactly what are they?

A concussion is brain trauma of a very distinct kind. One way to view it is that your brain is protected by fitting tightly in your skull. The brain will start moving around in your skull when something shakes your head violently. But your brain could wind up crashing into the inside of your skull because of the small amount of additional space in there.

This hurts your brain! The brain can impact one or more sides of your skull. And this is what brings about a concussion. This example makes it quite evident that a concussion is literally damage to the brain. Here are some symptoms of a concussion:

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

This list isn’t exhaustive, but you get the idea. Several weeks to several months is the normal duration of concussion symptoms. When somebody gets a single concussion, they will normally make a complete recovery. But, repetitive or multiple concussions are a different story (generally speaking, it’s a good idea to avoid these).

How do concussions trigger tinnitus?

Can a concussion mess with your hearing? Really?

It’s an intriguing question: what is the connection between tinnitus and concussions? After all, concussions aren’t the only brain traumas that can cause tinnitus symptoms. Even minor brain injuries can result in that ringing in your ears. That may occur in a few ways:

  • A “labyrinthine” concussion: This kind of concussion happens when the inner ear is damaged as a result of your TBI. Tinnitus and hearing loss, due to inflammation, can be the result of this damage.
  • Nerve damage: There’s also a nerve that is in charge of sending sounds you hear to your brain, which a concussion can harm.
  • 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 result in tinnitus.
  • Damage to your hearing: For members of the military, 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 damaged by the exceptionally loud shock wave of an explosion. Tinnitus isn’t always caused by a concussion, but they definitely do share some common causes.
  • Meniere’s Syndrome: The onset of a condition known as Meniere’s Syndrome can be caused by a TBI. When pressure builds up 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.
  • Disruption of communication: Concussion can, in some situations, damage the parts of the brain that manage hearing. When this happens, the messages that get transmitted from your ear can’t be correctly processed, and tinnitus may happen as a result.

Of course it’s significant to note that no two brain injuries are exactly the same. Every patient will get personalized care and instructions from us. You should certainly call us for an evaluation if you believe you might have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

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

Most frequently, tinnitus triggered by a concussion or traumatic brain damage will be short-term. After a concussion, how long can I anticipate my tinnitus to last? Weeks or possibly months, sadly, could be the time period. However, if your tinnitus has lingered for more than a year, it’s likely to be long lasting. Over time, in these situations, treatment plans to manage your condition will be the best strategy.

Here are some ways to achieve this:

  • Masking device: This device is a lot like a hearing aid, only instead of helping you hear things louder, it creates a particular noise in your ear. Your particular tinnitus symptoms determine what sound the device will generate helping you disregard the tinnitus sounds and be better able to focus on voices and other outside sounds.
  • Hearing aid: Sometimes, tinnitus becomes prominent because the rest of the world goes into the background (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: In some situations, therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be utilized to help patients ignore the noise produced by their tinnitus. You ignore the sound after accepting it. It will take some therapy, practice, and time though.

Obtaining the desired result will, in some situations, call for additional therapies. Getting rid of the tinnitus will frequently require treatment to the root concussion. The correct course of action will depend on the nature of your concussion and your TBI. This means an accurate diagnosis is incredibly important in this regard.

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

You can manage tinnitus caused by a TBI

A concussion can be a substantial and traumatic situation in your life. When you get concussed, it’s a bad day! And if you’ve been in a car accident and your ears are ringing, you may wonder why.

It could be days later or immediately after the accident that tinnitus symptoms emerge. But you can successfully control tinnitus after a crash and that’s significant to keep in mind. 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.

Medical information dates as new research comes out all the time - if you have a concern about your hearing, please call us.

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