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, at least some degree of mild brain trauma has likely happened to them.

To be sure, brain injuries aren’t the part that most action movies focus on. But that high-pitched ringing is something called tinnitus. Tinnitus is most often discussed in the context 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 prevalent traumatic brain injuries is a concussion. And they can happen for a wide variety of reasons (for example, falls, sporting accidents, and motor vehicle crashes). It can be somewhat complicated sorting out how a concussion can trigger tinnitus. Luckily, treating and managing your conditions is usually very attainable.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is brain trauma of a very particular kind. Think about it like this: your brain is situated fairly tightly inside your skull (your brain is big, and your skull is there to protect it). The brain will begin moving around inside your skull when something shakes your head violently. But because there’s so little additional space in there, your brain may literally smash into the inside of your skull.

This hurts your brain! The brain can hit one or more sides of your skull. And this is what causes a concussion. This example makes it quite clear that a concussion is literally damage to the brain. Symptoms of concussions include the following:

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

Although this list makes the point, it’s by no means exhaustive. Symptoms from a concussion can last anywhere between several weeks and several months. When someone gets one concussion, they will usually make a full recovery. But repeated concussions can result in irreversible brain damage.

How is tinnitus caused by a concussion?

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

It’s an intriguing question: what is the link between concussions and tinnitus? After all, concussions won’t be the only brain traumas that can trigger tinnitus symptoms. That ringing in your ears can be set off by even minor brain injuries. That may happen in a few ways:

  • Disruption of communication: In some cases, the portion of your brain that controls hearing can become harmed by a concussion. When this occurs, the messages that get sent from your ear cannot be properly processed, and tinnitus might occur consequently.
  • A “labyrinthine” concussion: This type of concussion occurs when the inner ear is injured due to your TBI. Tinnitus and hearing loss, as a result of inflammation, can be the consequence of this damage.
  • Meniere’s Syndrome: The onset of a condition known as Meniere’s Syndrome can be a consequence of a TBI. When pressure accumulates in the inner ear this condition can occur. Sooner or later, Meniere’s syndrome can result in noticeable tinnitus and hearing loss.
  • Disruption of the Ossicular Chain: The transmission of sound to your brain is aided by three tiny bones in your ear. These bones can be knocked out of place by a significant concussive, impactive event. This can disrupt your ability to hear and result in tinnitus.
  • Damage to your hearing: Enduring an explosion at close range is the cause of concussions and TBIs for many members of the armed forces. Irreversible hearing loss can be triggered when the stereocilia in your ears are injured by the exceptionally noisy shock wave of an explosion. Tinnitus isn’t always caused by a concussion, but they definitely do share some common causes.
  • Nerve damage: A concussion might also trigger damage to the nerve that is in charge of transmitting the sounds you hear to your brain.

It’s significant to emphasize that every traumatic brain injury and concussion is a little different. Every patient will receive personalized care and instructions from us. Indeed, if you think you have experienced a traumatic brain injury or a concussion, you need to call us for an assessment right away.

How do you manage tinnitus from a concussion?

Typically, it will be a temporary challenge if tinnitus is the result of a concussion. After a concussion, how long can I expect my tinnitus to linger? Weeks or months, sadly, could be the time frame. Then again, if your tinnitus has lasted for more than a year, it’s likely to be irreversible. Over time, in these circumstances, treatment plans to manage your condition will be the optimal strategy.

This can be achieved by:

  • Hearing aid: In a similar way to when you have hearing loss not triggered by a TBI, tinnitus symptoms seem louder because everything else is quieter. Hearing aids help your tinnitus fade into the background by turning up the volume on everything else.
  • Therapy: Sometimes, patients can learn to disregard the sound by undertaking cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). You ignore the sound after accepting it. It will take some therapy, practice, and time though.
  • Masking device: This device is a lot like a hearing aid, but instead of helping you hear things more loudly, it creates a specific noise in your ear. Your particular tinnitus symptoms dictate what sound the device will generate helping you disregard the tinnitus sounds and be better able to pay attention to voices and other external sounds.

Achieving the expected result will, in some situations, call for added therapies. Clearing up the tinnitus will frequently call for treatment to the root concussion. The right course of action will depend on the status of your concussion and your TBI. As a result, an accurate diagnosis is extremely important in this regard.

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

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 your ears are ringing, you might ask yourself, why do I have ringing in my ears after a car accident?

It may be days later or immediately after the accident that tinnitus symptoms surface. But you can effectively manage tinnitus after a crash and that’s significant to keep in mind. Give us a call today to make 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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