Concussions & Tinnitus: What’s the Link?

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 close by and their ears begin to ring? Well, at least some amount of mild brain trauma has likely happened to them.

To be certain, brain injuries aren’t the bit that most action movies linger on. But that high-pitched ringing is something called tinnitus. Normally, hearing loss is the topic of a tinnitus conversation, but traumatic brain injuries can also trigger this condition.

Concussions, after all, are one of the more common traumatic brain injuries that occur. And they can happen for a wide variety of reasons (for instance, falls, sporting accidents, and motor vehicle accidents). How something such as a concussion triggers 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 particular form of traumatic brain injury (TBI). One way to think about it is that your brain is protected by fitting tightly in your skull. The brain will begin to move around inside your skull when something shakes your head violently. But because there’s so little additional space in there, your brain could literally crash into the inside of your skull.

This harms your brain! The brain can hit one or more sides of your skull. And this is what brings about a concussion. When you visualize this, it makes it easy to understand how a concussion is literally brain damage. Symptoms of concussions include the following:

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

This list isn’t complete, but you get the point. Symptoms from a concussion can persist anywhere between several weeks and a few months. Brain damage from a single concussion is generally not permanent, most individuals will end up making a full recovery. But repeated concussions can result in permanent brain damage.

How is tinnitus triggered by a concussion?

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

The matter of concussions and tinnitus is an intriguing one. Because it’s more accurate to say that traumatic brain injuries (even minor ones) can cause tinnitus, it’s not only concussions. Even mild brain injuries can lead to that ringing in your ears. Here are a few ways that may take place:

  • Nerve damage: A concussion may also trigger damage to the nerve that is responsible for transmitting the sounds you hear to your brain.
  • Damage to your hearing: For members of the armed forces, TBIs and concussions are often a result of proximity to an explosion. Irreversible hearing loss can be triggered when the stereocilia in your ears are damaged by the incredibly noisy shock wave of an explosion. Tinnitus isn’t inevitably caused by a concussion, but they definitely do share some root causes.
  • A “labyrinthine” concussion: This form of concussion occurs when the inner ear is damaged as a result of your TBI. Tinnitus and hearing loss, as a result of inflammation, can be the result of this damage.
  • Interruption of the Ossicular Chain: The relaying of sound to your brain is assisted by three tiny bones in your ear. A significant impact (the type that can cause a concussion, for example) can push these bones out of position. This can disrupt your ability to hear and result in tinnitus.
  • Disruption of communication: In some instances, the part of your brain that manages hearing can become damaged by a concussion. When this happens, the messages that get transmitted from your ear cannot be properly dealt with, and tinnitus might happen consequently.
  • Meniere’s Syndrome: A TBI can cause the onset of a condition called Meniere’s Syndrome. This is a result of the buildup of pressure within the inner ear. Significant hearing loss and tinnitus can become an issue over time as a result of Menier’s disease.

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

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

Most frequently, tinnitus related to a concussion or traumatic brain injury will be short-term. After a concussion, how long can I anticipate my tinnitus to linger? Well, it could last weeks or possibly months. But, it’s likely that your tinnitus is permanent if it lasts more than a year. Over time, in these situations, treatment plans to manage your condition will be the best strategy.

Here are some ways to accomplish this:

  • Masking device: This device goes in your ear a lot like a hearing aid, but it creates specific noises instead of amplifying things. Your specific tinnitus symptoms determine what sound the device will generate helping you ignore the tinnitus sounds and be better able to pay attention to voices and other outside sounds.
  • Therapy: Sometimes, patients can learn to overlook the sound by engaging in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). You disregard the sound after acknowledging it. It will require some therapy, practice, and time though.
  • 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. Hearing aids help your tinnitus fade into the background by turning the volume up on everything else.

In some situations, further therapies might be required to achieve the desired result. Clearing up the tinnitus will frequently require treatment to the root concussion. Depending on the status of your concussion, there could be several possible courses of action. In this regard, a precise diagnosis is key.

Find out what the right plan of treatment may be for you by getting in touch with us.

You can control tinnitus caused by a TBI

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

It may be days later or instantly after the crash that tinnitus symptoms surface. However, it’s essential to remember that tinnitus after a head injury can be managed effectively. Call us 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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