You Know when you’re watching an action movie and the hero has a loud explosion close by and their ears start ringing? Well, at least some amount 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 high-pitched ringing is something known as tinnitus. Normally, hearing loss is the subject of a tinnitus conversation, but traumatic brain injuries can also trigger this condition.
Concussions, after all, are one of the most prevalent traumatic brain injuries that happen. And there are quite a few reasons concussions can happen (car crashes, sports 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 normally treat and manage your condition.
Concussions, exactly what are they?
A concussion is brain trauma of a very distinct kind. Think about it this way: your brain is situated pretty 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 smashing into the inside of your skull because of the small amount of extra space in there.
This harms your brain! The brain can impact one or more sides of your skull. And this is what results in 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:
- Dizziness and blurred vision
- A slow or delayed response to questions
- Ringing in the ears
- Confusion and loss of memory
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slurred speech
This list isn’t exhaustive, but you get the point. Symptoms from a concussion can persist anywhere between a few weeks and several months. Brain damage from a single concussion is generally not permanent, most individuals will end up making a complete recovery. But, repeated or multiple concussions are a bigger problem (generally, it’s the best idea to avoid these).
How do concussions cause tinnitus?
Is it really possible that a concussion may affect your hearing?
The matter of concussions and tinnitus is an intriguing one. After all, concussions aren’t the only brain traumas that can cause tinnitus symptoms. Even mild brain injuries can result in that ringing in your ears. Here are a couple of ways that may take place:
- A “labyrinthine” concussion: This form of concussion happens when the inner ear is injured as a result of your TBI. This damage can produce inflammation and cause both hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Meniere’s Syndrome: The onset of a condition known as Meniere’s Syndrome can be caused by a TBI. This is caused by the buildup of pressure inside of the inner ear. Significant hearing loss and tinnitus can become an issue over time as a result of Menier’s disease.
- Disruption of communication: In some instances, the part of your brain that manages hearing can become damaged by a concussion. Consequently, the signals sent from the ear to your brain can’t be properly processed and tinnitus can be the outcome.
- Disruption 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 significant concussive, impactive event. This can interrupt your ability to hear and result in tinnitus.
- Damage to your hearing: For members of the military, TBIs and concussions are frequently related to distance to an explosion. Irreversible hearing loss can be triggered when the stereocilia in your ears are injured by the tremendously noisy shock wave of an explosion. Tinnitus isn’t always caused by a concussion, but they definitely do share some root causes.
- Nerve damage: A concussion might also cause injury to the nerve that is in charge of transmitting the sounds you hear to your brain.
Of course it’s significant to note that no two brain injuries are exactly the same. Every patient will receive individualized care and instructions from us. Indeed, if you think you have experienced a traumatic brain injury or a concussion, you should Call or Text Us for an assessment as soon as possible.
When you get a concussion and tinnitus is the consequence, how can it be addressed?
Typically, it will be a temporary situation if tinnitus is the consequence of a concussion. How long does tinnitus linger after a concussion? Well, it might last weeks or months. But, it’s likely that your tinnitus is permanent if it lasts more than a year. Over time, in these situations, treatment plans to manage your condition will be the best plan.
Here are some ways to accomplish this:
- Hearing aid: In a similar way to when you have hearing loss not triggered by a TBI, tinnitus symptoms seem louder because everything else is quieter. A hearing aid can help raise the volume of everything else, ensuring that your tinnitus fades into the background.
- 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 determine what sound the device will generate helping you ignore the tinnitus sounds and be better able to pay attention to voices and other outside sounds.
- Therapy: In some cases, therapy, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be used to help patients ignore the noise produced by their tinnitus. You acknowledge that the noise is present, and then ignore it. This technique requires therapy and practice.
In some situations, further therapies might be required to achieve the desired result. Treatment of the root concussion may be necessary 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.
Consult us about what the ideal treatment plan may look like for you.
You can control tinnitus caused by a TBI
A concussion can be a significant and traumatic situation in your life. It’s never a good day when you get concussed! And if your ears are ringing, you may ask yourself, why are my ears ringing after a car crash?
Tinnitus may emerge immediately or in the following days. However, it’s essential to remember that tinnitus after a head injury can be successfully managed. Schedule a consultation with us right away.