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 begin to ring? Well, at least some degree of minor brain trauma has likely happened to them.

To be certain, brain injuries aren’t the bit that most action movies focus on. But that ringing in our hero’s ears represents a condition called tinnitus. Tinnitus is most often talked about in the context of hearing loss, but actually, traumatic brain injuries like concussions can also trigger 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 instance, falls, sporting accidents, and motor vehicle accidents). How something such as a concussion causes tinnitus can be, well, complicated. Luckily, treating and managing your conditions is usually very achievable.

What is a concussion?

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

This causes harm to your brain! Multiple sides of your skull can be impacted by your brain. And when this occurs, you get a concussion. When you picture this, it makes it easy to understand how a concussion is literally brain damage. Here are some symptoms of a concussion:

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

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

How do concussions cause tinnitus?

Can a concussion interfere with your hearing? Really?

It’s an interesting question: what is the connection between concussions and tinnitus? Because it’s more correct to say that traumatic brain injuries (even mild ones) can bring about tinnitus, It isn’t just concussions. That ringing in your ears can be triggered by even mild brain injuries. Here are a few ways that could take place:

  • Damage to your hearing: Experiencing an explosion at close range is the cause of concussions and TBIs for many members of the military. Irreversible hearing loss can be caused when the stereocilia in your ears are injured by the incredibly noisy shock wave of an explosion. So it’s not so much that the concussion caused tinnitus, it’s that the tinnitus and concussion have a common root cause.
  • 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 kind that can cause a concussion, for example) can jostle these bones out of position. Tinnitus can be triggered by this and it can also disrupt your hearing.
  • Disruption of communication: In some cases, the part of your brain that manages hearing can become damaged by a concussion. Consequently, the messages sent from the ear to your brain can’t be precisely processed and tinnitus can be the outcome.
  • Nerve damage: A concussion may also cause injury to the nerve that is responsible for transferring the sounds you hear to your brain.
  • A “labyrinthine” concussion: When your TBI injures the inner ear this kind of concussion happens. This damage can create inflammation and lead to both hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Meniere’s Syndrome: The development 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 occur. Eventually, Meniere’s syndrome can lead to significant tinnitus and hearing loss.

It’s important to emphasize that every traumatic brain injury and concussion is a little different. Every patient will receive individualized care and instructions from us. You should definitely contact us for an assessment if you think you might have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

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

Usually, it will be a temporary challenge if tinnitus is the result of a concussion. How long can tinnitus linger after a concussion? Weeks or possibly months, unfortunately, could be the time frame. But, it’s likely that your tinnitus is permanent if it lasts more than a year. In these cases, the treatment plan changes to controlling your symptoms over the long run.

This can be achieved by:

  • Masking device: This device goes in your ear much like a hearing aid, but it creates specific noises instead of making things louder. This noise is customized to your tinnitus, drowning out the sound so you can pay attention to voices, or other sounds you really want to hear.
  • Therapy: In some situations, therapy, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be utilized to help patients ignore the noise caused by their tinnitus. You disregard the sound after accepting it. This technique takes therapy and practice.
  • Hearing aid: Sometimes, tinnitus becomes pronounced 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, assuring that your tinnitus fades into the background.

Obtaining the expected result will, in some cases, require added therapies. Treatment of the underlying concussion might be required in order to get rid of the tinnitus. The correct 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 ideal treatment plan might look like for you.

TBI-caused tinnitus can be controlled

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

Tinnitus could emerge instantly or in the following days. But you can effectively manage tinnitus after a crash and that’s important 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.
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