What is The Link Between Concussions And Tinnitus?

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 thunderous explosion nearby and their ears start ringing? Well, guess what: that most likely means our hero sustained at least a minor traumatic brain injury!

To be sure, brain injuries aren’t the bit that most action movies focus on. But that high-pitched ringing is something known as tinnitus. Tinnitus is most frequently discussed from the perspective of hearing loss, but it turns out that traumatic brain injuries such as concussions can also trigger this particular ringing in the ears.

After all, one of the most common traumatic brain injuries is a concussion. And there are a number of reasons concussions can happen (car crashes, sporting accidents, and falls, for example). How something such as a concussion triggers tinnitus can be, well, complex. But here’s the good news: even if you sustain a brain injury that causes tinnitus, you can usually treat and manage your condition.

Concussions, exactly what are they?

A concussion is a specific type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Think about it like this: your brain is nestled fairly tightly inside your skull (your brain is big, and your skull is there to protect it). The brain will start moving around inside your skull when something shakes your head violently. But because there’s so little extra space in there, your brain could literally crash into the inside of your skull.

This causes harm to your brain! The brain can impact one or more sides of your skull. And this is what causes a concussion. When you visualize this, it makes it simple to understand how a concussion is literally brain damage. Here are some symptoms of a concussion:

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

Although this list makes the point, it’s in no way complete. Several weeks to several months is the normal duration of concussion symptoms. Brain injury from a single concussion is typically not permanent, most people will end up making a total recovery. However, repeated or multiple concussions are a different story (generally, it’s a good idea to avoid these).

How do concussions cause tinnitus?

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

It’s an intriguing question: what is the connection between tinnitus and concussions? Because it’s more accurate to say that traumatic brain injuries (even mild ones) can bring about tinnitus, It isn’t only concussions. Even mild brain injuries can lead to that ringing in your ears. That may occur in a few ways:

  • A “labyrinthine” concussion: When your TBI injures the inner ear this form of concussion occurs. Tinnitus and hearing loss, due to inflammation, can be the result of this damage.
  • Damage to your hearing: Experiencing an explosion at close distance is the cause of concussions and TBIs for many members of the military. And explosions are very loud, the sound and the shock wave can damage the stereocilia in your ear, triggering hearing loss and tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t necessarily caused by a concussion, but they definitely do share some root causes.
  • Nerve damage: There’s also a nerve that is in charge of transmitting sounds you hear to your brain, which a concussion can harm.
  • 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 happen. Eventually, Meniere’s syndrome can lead to significant tinnitus and hearing loss.
  • Interruption of the Ossicular Chain: There are three bones in your ear that help send sounds to your brain. These bones can be pushed out of place by a substantial concussive, impactive event. This can disrupt your ability to hear and result in tinnitus.
  • Disruption of communication: Concussion can, in some instances, damage the portions of the brain that manage hearing. As a result, the signals sent from the ear to your brain can’t be properly digested and tinnitus can be the outcome.

It’s significant to stress that every traumatic brain injury and concussion is a little different. Individualized care and instructions, from us, will be given to every patient. Indeed, if you think you have experienced a traumatic brain injury or a concussion, you should call us for an evaluation as soon as possible.

How do you deal with tinnitus caused by a concussion?

Usually, it will be a temporary challenge if tinnitus is the result of a concussion. How long does tinnitus linger after a concussion? Well, it might last weeks or possibly months. However, if your tinnitus has lasted for more than a year, it’s likely to be long lasting. In these circumstances, the treatment strategy changes to managing your symptoms over the long term.

This can be achieved by:

  • Masking device: This device is a lot like a hearing aid, but instead of helping you hear things louder, it produces a particular noise in your ear. This noise is customized to your tinnitus, overpowering the sound so you can focus on voices, or other sounds you actually want to hear.
  • Therapy: Sometimes, patients can learn to overlook the sound by undertaking cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). You accept that the noise is present, and then ignore it. This technique takes therapy and practice.
  • Hearing aid: In a similar way to when you’re dealing with hearing loss not caused by a TBI, tinnitus symptoms seem louder because everything else is quieter. A hearing aid can help turn the volume up on everything else, ensuring that your tinnitus fades into the background.

Obtaining the desired result will, in some situations, call for added therapies. Management of the root concussion might be required in order to get rid of the tinnitus. Depending on the status of your concussion, there could be a number of possible courses of action. This means an accurate diagnosis is extremely important in this regard.

Learn what the best plan of treatment might be for you by getting in touch with us.

TBI-triggered tinnitus can be managed

A concussion can be a substantial and traumatic event in your life. When you get concussed, it’s a bad day! And if you’ve been in a car accident and your ears are ringing, you may wonder why.

Tinnitus may surface immediately or in the following days. However, it’s important to remember that tinnitus after a head injury can be managed effectively. Schedule a consultation with us right away.

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.