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

You Know when you’re watching an action movie and the hero has a loud explosion nearby and their ears start ringing? Well, guess what: that probably means our hero sustained at least a mild traumatic brain injury!

To be certain, brain injuries aren’t the bit that most action movies linger on. But that ringing in our hero’s ears represents a condition called tinnitus. Tinnitus is most frequently discussed in the context of hearing loss, but actually, traumatic brain injuries such as concussions can also trigger this particular ringing in the ears.

After all, one of the most prevalent traumatic brain injuries is a concussion. And they can happen for numerous reasons (car crashes, sports accidents, and falls, for example). It can be a bit complicated sorting out how a concussion can cause tinnitus. Fortunately, treating and managing your conditions is usually very achievable.

Concussions, exactly what are they?

A concussion is brain trauma of a very particular type. Think about it like this: your brain is situated fairly tightly inside your skull (your brain is large, and your skull is there to protect it). The brain will begin 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 harms your brain! The brain can hit one or more sides of your skull. And when this occurs, you get a concussion. This example makes it quite evident that a concussion is literally damage to the brain. Here are a few symptoms of a concussion:

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

Although this list makes the point, it’s by no means exhaustive. A few weeks to several months is the normal duration of concussion symptoms. Brain injury from one concussion is generally not permanent, most individuals will end up making a total recovery. But repeated concussions can result in irreversible brain damage.

How is tinnitus caused by a concussion?

Can a concussion interfere with your hearing? Really?

It’s an interesting question: what is the connection between concussions and tinnitus? After all, concussions are not the only brain traumas that can cause tinnitus symptoms. Even mild brain injuries can result in that ringing in your ears. That might happen in a couple of ways:

  • Damage to your hearing: For members of the armed forces, TBIs and concussions are frequently caused by proximity 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. So it’s not so much that the concussion caused tinnitus, it’s that the tinnitus and concussion have the same underlying cause.
  • Nerve damage: A concussion might also trigger damage to the nerve that is responsible for transferring the sounds you hear to your brain.
  • Disruption of communication: In some cases, the portion of your brain that manages hearing can become damaged by a concussion. As a result, the messages sent from the ear to your brain can’t be properly digested and tinnitus can be the outcome.
  • A “labyrinthine” concussion: When your TBI injures the inner ear this type of concussion happens. This damage can produce inflammation and lead to both hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Meniere’s Syndrome: The development of a condition known as Meniere’s Syndrome can be a consequence of a TBI. This is a consequence 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.
  • Interruption of the Ossicular Chain: There are three tiny bones in your ear that help transfer sounds to your brain. A substantial impact (the type that can trigger a concussion, for example) can push these bones out of place. Tinnitus can be triggered by this and it can also disrupt your ability to hear.

It’s significant to stress that every traumatic brain injury and concussion is a little different. Personalized care and instructions, from us, will be provided to every patient. Indeed, if you think you have suffered a traumatic brain injury or a concussion, you need to call us for an assessment right away.

How do you treat tinnitus from a concussion?

Most often, tinnitus triggered by a concussion or traumatic brain damage will be temporary. After a concussion, how long can I expect my tinnitus to linger? Well, it might last weeks or possibly months. However, if your tinnitus has lasted for more than a year, it’s likely to be permanent. Over time, in these situations, treatment plans to manage your condition will be the optimal strategy.

This can be accomplished by:

  • Hearing aid: In a similar way to when you’re dealing with hearing loss not triggered by a TBI, tinnitus symptoms seem louder because everything else is quieter. A hearing aid can help turn the volume up on everything else, assuring that your tinnitus fades into the background.
  • Therapy: In some situations, therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be used to help patients ignore the noise caused by their tinnitus. You accept that the noise is there, and then disregard it. This technique takes therapy and practice.
  • Masking device: This device goes inside your ear much like a hearing aid, but it creates specific noises instead of amplifying things. This noise is customized to your tinnitus, overpowering the sound so you can focus on voices, or other sounds you actually want to hear.

In some situations, additional therapies may be required to obtain the expected result. Management of the root concussion may be necessary in order to make the tinnitus go away. The correct course of action will depend on the status of your concussion and your TBI. This means a precise diagnosis is extremely important in this regard.

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

TBI-caused tinnitus can be managed

A concussion can be a substantial 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 are my ears ringing after a car accident?

Tinnitus may surface immediately or in the days that follow. But you can successfully control tinnitus after an accident and that’s significant to keep in mind. 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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