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

To be certain, brain injuries aren’t the part that most action movies linger on. But that high-pitched ringing is something called tinnitus. Tinnitus is most frequently discussed in the context of hearing loss, but actually, traumatic brain injuries such as concussions can also cause this particular ringing in the ears.

Concussions, after all, are one of the most prevalent traumatic brain injuries that happen. And they can occur for a wide variety of reasons (car crashes, sports accidents, and falls, for example). It can be somewhat complicated sorting out how a concussion can lead to tinnitus. But the good news is that even if you sustain a brain injury that causes tinnitus, you can normally treat and manage your condition.

Concussions, exactly what are they?

A concussion is a specific type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). One way to view it is that your brain is protected by fitting tightly in your skull. When something comes along and shakes the head violently enough, your brain starts moving around in your skull. But because there’s so little extra space in there, your brain could literally smash into the inside of your skull.

This harms your brain! The brain can hit one or more sides of your skull. And when this occurs, you experience a concussion. When you picture this, it makes it simple to see how a concussion is literally brain damage. Symptoms of concussions include the following:

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

This list isn’t exhaustive, but you get the idea. A few weeks to a few months is the normal duration of concussion symptoms. When somebody gets a single concussion, they will usually make a complete recovery. But repeated concussions can lead to permanent brain damage.

How is tinnitus caused by a concussion?

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

It’s an intriguing question: what is the link between concussions and tinnitus? Not surprisingly, concussions are not the only brain traumas that can trigger tinnitus symptoms. That ringing in your ears can be triggered by even mild brain injuries. That might happen in a few ways:

  • 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 tiny bones in your ear that help transfer sounds to your brain. A significant impact (the kind that can cause a concussion, for example) can push these bones out of place. Tinnitus can be caused by this and it can also interrupt your ability to hear.
  • Damage to your hearing: For members of the military, TBIs and concussions are frequently a result of proximity to an explosion. And explosions are incredibly loud, the noise and the shock wave can harm 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 communication: Concussion can, in some instances, harm the parts of the brain that control hearing. When this occurs, the messages that get sent from your ear cannot be properly dealt with, and tinnitus may happen as a result.
  • A “labyrinthine” concussion: This type of concussion happens when the inner ear is damaged as a result of your TBI. Tinnitus and hearing loss, as a result of inflammation, can be the consequence of this damage.
  • Meniere’s Syndrome: The development of a condition known as Meniere’s Syndrome can be a consequence of a TBI. This is a result of an accumulation of pressure inside of the inner ear. Substantial hearing loss and tinnitus can become a problem over time as a result of Menier’s disease.

Of course it’s important to note that no two brain injuries are precisely the same. Every patient will receive individualized care and instructions from us. You should definitely 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 consequence, how can it be addressed?

Most frequently, tinnitus related to a concussion or traumatic brain damage will be temporary. How long can tinnitus last after a concussion? Well, it may last weeks or 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 optimal strategy.

Here are some ways to accomplish this:

  • Therapy: In some cases, therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be used to help patients ignore the noise produced by their tinnitus. You accept that the noise is present, and then ignore it. It will require some therapy, practice, and time though.
  • Hearing aid: Sometimes, tinnitus becomes dominant because the rest of the world takes a back seat (as is the case with non-TBI-caused hearing loss, everything else gets quieter, so your tinnitus sounds louder). A hearing aid can help raise the volume of everything else, ensuring that your tinnitus fades into the background.
  • Masking device: This device goes in your ear a lot like a hearing aid, but it produces 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.

In some situations, additional therapies might be required to achieve the desired result. Getting rid of the tinnitus will often call for treatment to the root concussion. The best course of action will depend on the nature of your concussion and your TBI. In this regard, a precise diagnosis is key.

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

You can control tinnitus caused by a TBI

Your life can be traumatically affected by a concussion. When you get concussed, it’s a bad day! And if you have ringing in your ears, you may ask yourself, why do I have ringing in my ears after a car crash?

It could 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. 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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