You Know when you’re watching an action movie and the hero has a loud explosion close by and their ears begin to ring? Well, guess what: that likely means our hero suffered at least a minor traumatic brain injury!
To be certain, brain injuries aren’t the bit that most action movies linger on. But that high-pitched ringing is something called tinnitus. Tinnitus is most frequently discussed from the perspective of hearing loss, but actually, traumatic brain injuries such as concussions can also lead to this particular ringing in the ears.
Concussions, after all, are one of the most common traumatic brain injuries that happen. And there are lots of reasons concussions can occur (for example, falls, sporting accidents, and motor vehicle accidents). It can be somewhat complex sorting out how a concussion can lead to tinnitus. But the good news is that even if you suffer a brain injury that triggers tinnitus, you can normally treat and manage your condition.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is brain trauma of a very distinct kind. One way to view it is that your brain is protected by sitting snuggly in your skull. The brain will start to move around in your skull when something shakes your head violently. But because there’s so little additional space in there, your brain could literally smash into the inside of your skull.
This harms your brain! The brain can impact one or more sides of your skull. And when this occurs, you get a concussion. When you picture this, it makes it simple to understand how a concussion is literally brain damage. Here are some symptoms of a concussion:
- Confusion and loss of memory
- Ringing in the ears
- A slow or delayed response to questions
- Slurred speech
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dizziness and blurred vision
Even though this list makes the point, it’s in no way exhaustive. Several weeks to several months is the normal duration of concussion symptoms. When someone gets one concussion, they will normally make a complete recovery. But, repetitive or multiple concussions are a different story (generally, it’s a good idea to avoid these).
How do concussions trigger tinnitus?
Is it actually feasible that a concussion could affect your hearing?
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 minor ones) can result in tinnitus, it’s not just concussions. Even minor brain injuries can result in that ringing in your ears. That may occur in a few ways:
- Damage to your hearing: For members of the military, TBIs and concussions are often related to proximity to an explosion. Irreversible hearing loss can be caused when the stereocilia in your ears are damaged by the incredibly loud shock wave of an explosion. Tinnitus isn’t inevitably caused by a concussion, but they definitely do share some root causes.
- Nerve damage: There’s also a nerve that is responsible for transmitting sounds you hear to your brain, which a concussion can harm.
- Meniere’s Syndrome: A TBI can cause the onset of a condition known as Meniere’s Syndrome. When pressure accumulates in the inner ear this condition can occur. Significant hearing loss and tinnitus can become a problem over time as a result of Menier’s disease.
- A “labyrinthine” concussion: This type of concussion occurs when the inner ear is injured due to your TBI. This damage can cause inflammation and cause both hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Disruption of the Ossicular Chain: The transmission of sound to your brain is assisted by three bones in your ear. These bones can be pushed out of place by a significant concussive, impactive event. Tinnitus can be caused by this and it can also interrupt your hearing.
- Disruption of communication: Concussion can, in some instances, harm the portions of the brain that control hearing. When this occurs, the signals that get transmitted from your ear can’t be correctly dealt with, and tinnitus might happen as a result.
It’s important to stress that every traumatic brain injury and concussion is a little different. Every patient will receive personalized care and instructions from us. You should definitely give us a call for an evaluation if you believe you might have suffered a traumatic brain injury.
When you get a concussion and tinnitus is the result, how can it be treated?
Usually, it will be a temporary challenge if tinnitus is the result of a concussion. After a concussion, how long can I anticipate my tinnitus to last? Weeks or possibly months, sadly, could be the time frame. But, it’s likely that your tinnitus is permanent if it lasts more than a year. Over time, in these circumstances, treatment plans to manage your condition will be the best plan.
Here are some ways to achieve this:
- Hearing aid: Sometimes, tinnitus becomes dominant because the rest of the world goes into the background (as is the case with non-TBI-caused hearing loss, everything else gets quieter, so your tinnitus seems louder). Hearing aids help your tinnitus go into the background by turning the volume up on everything else.
- Therapy: Sometimes, patients can learn to disregard the sound by undertaking cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). You accept that the noise is present, and then ignore it. This technique requires therapy and practice.
- Masking device: This device is similar to a hearing aid, only instead of helping you hear things louder, it creates a distinct noise in your ear. This noise is custom tailored to your tinnitus, drowning out the sound so you can focus on voices, or other sounds you really want to hear.
Achieving the desired result will, in some situations, call for added therapies. Getting rid of the tinnitus will often require treatment to the underlying concussion. Depending on the nature of your concussion, there could be a number of possible courses of action. As a result, a precise diagnosis is incredibly important in this regard.
Consult us about what the ideal treatment plan may look like for you.
TBI-caused tinnitus can be controlled
Your life can be traumatically impacted by a concussion. It’s never a good day when you get concussed! And if you have ringing in your ears, you might ask yourself, why do I have ringing in my ears after a car crash?
It could be days later or instantly after the accident that tinnitus symptoms emerge. But you can effectively manage tinnitus after a crash and that’s important to keep in mind. Schedule a consultation with us right away.