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

You know that scene in your favorite action movie where something explodes next to the hero and the sound goes all high-pitched-buzzing? Well, at least some amount of mild brain trauma has likely happened to them.

Naturally, action movies don’t highlight the brain injury part. But that high-pitched ringing is something known as tinnitus. Usually, hearing loss is the subject of a tinnitus conversation, but traumatic brain injuries can also trigger this condition.

After all, one of the most prevalent traumatic brain injuries is a concussion. And they can occur for many reasons (for instance, falls, sporting accidents, and motor vehicle crashes). How something such as a concussion triggers tinnitus can be, well, complex. 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 pretty tightly into your skull (your brain is big, 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 smashing into the inside of your skull because of the small amount of additional space in there.

This harms your brain! Multiple sides of your skull can be impacted by your brain. And when this happens, you experience a concussion. This illustration makes it quite evident that a concussion is literally damage to the brain. Here are some symptoms of a concussion:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of memory and confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Ringing in the ears
  • A slow or delayed response to questions
  • Dizziness and blurred vision
  • 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 someone gets a single concussion, they will typically make a complete recovery. But recurring concussions can lead to permanent brain damage.

How is tinnitus caused by a concussion?

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

The matter of concussions and tinnitus is an intriguing one. After all, concussions aren’t the only brain traumas that can trigger tinnitus symptoms. That ringing in your ears can be triggered by even mild brain injuries. That may occur in a couple of ways:

  • Nerve damage: There’s also a nerve that is responsible for sending sounds you hear to your brain, which a concussion can damage.
  • A “labyrinthine” concussion: When your TBI injures the inner ear this form of concussion happens. This damage can produce inflammation and cause both hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Disruption of the Ossicular Chain: The relaying of sound to your brain is aided by three tiny bones in your ear. A major impact (the kind that can trigger a concussion, for instance) can push these bones out of position. This can interrupt your ability to hear and result in tinnitus.
  • Meniere’s Syndrome: The development of a condition known as Meniere’s Syndrome can be a consequence of a TBI. This is caused by an accumulation of pressure within the inner ear. Eventually, Meniere’s syndrome can lead to significant tinnitus and hearing loss.
  • Damage to your hearing: For members of the military, TBIs and concussions are frequently caused by distance to an explosion. And explosions are incredibly loud, the sound and the shock wave can damage the stereocilia in your ear, triggering hearing loss and tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t always caused by a concussion, but they definitely do share some common causes.
  • 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 correctly digested and tinnitus can be the outcome.

It’s important to stress that every traumatic brain injury and concussion is a bit different. Every patient will receive personalized care and instructions from us. Indeed, if you think you have suffered a traumatic brain injury or a concussion, you should call us for an evaluation right away.

How do you deal with tinnitus caused by a concussion?

Typically, it will be a temporary scenario if tinnitus is the result of a concussion. After a concussion, how long can I expect my tinnitus to linger? Weeks or possibly months, unfortunately, could be the time period. Then again, if your tinnitus has lingered for more than a year, it’s likely to be irreversible. In these situations, the treatment strategy changes to managing your symptoms over the long run.

Here are some ways to accomplish this:

  • Masking device: This device is a lot like a hearing aid, but instead of helping you hear things louder, it creates a distinct noise in your ear. Your distinct tinnitus symptoms dictate what sound the device will generate helping you disregard the tinnitus sounds and be better able to focus on voices and other outside sounds.
  • Therapy: In some situations, therapy, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be utilized to help patients disregard the noise produced by their tinnitus. You accept that the noise is present, and then ignore it. It will take some therapy, practice, and time though.
  • Hearing aid: Sometimes, tinnitus becomes prominent because the rest of the world goes into the background (as is the situation with non-TBI-caused hearing loss, everything else gets quieter, so your tinnitus sounds louder). Hearing aids help your tinnitus go into the background by turning the volume up on everything else.

In some cases, further therapies may be required to achieve the desired result. Treatment of the underlying concussion may be required in order to make the tinnitus go away. The best course of action will depend on the status of your concussion and your TBI. In this regard, an accurate diagnosis is key.

Discover what the right plan of treatment may be for you by giving us a call.

You can manage tinnitus caused by a TBI

Your life can be traumatically impacted 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 are my ears ringing after a car accident?

It could be days later or immediately after the crash that tinnitus symptoms emerge. However, it’s important to remember that tinnitus after a head injury can be successfully managed. Give us a call 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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