You Know when you’re viewing an action movie and the hero has a thunderous explosion close by and their ears begin to ring? Well, at least some amount of minor brain trauma has likely happened to them.
Obviously, action movies don’t highlight the brain injury part. But that high-pitched ringing is something called tinnitus. Normally, hearing loss is the subject of a tinnitus conversation, but traumatic brain injuries can also cause this condition.
After all, one of the most common traumatic brain injuries is a concussion. And they can happen for a wide variety of reasons (for example, falls, sports accidents, and motor vehicle accidents). It can be a bit complicated sorting out how a concussion can lead to tinnitus. Fortunately, treating and managing your conditions is usually very achievable.
Concussions, exactly what are they?
A concussion is brain trauma of a very particular type. One way to view it is that your brain is protected by sitting snuggly in your skull. When something occurs and shakes the head violently enough, your brain starts moving around inside of your skull. But because there’s so little additional space in there, your brain may literally smash into the inside of your skull.
This hurts your brain! Multiple sides of your skull can be impacted by your brain. And this is what results in a concussion. This illustration makes it quite evident that a concussion is literally damage to the brain. Symptoms of concussions include the following:
- Ringing in the ears
- Confusion and loss of memory
- A slow or delayed response to questions
- Blurry vision or dizziness
- Vomiting and nausea
- Slurred speech
Although this list makes the point, it’s in no way complete. Several weeks to several months is the normal duration of concussion symptoms. When someone gets one concussion, they will typically make a complete recovery. But, repeated or multiple concussions are a bigger problem (generally speaking, it’s a good idea to avoid these).
How is tinnitus triggered by a concussion?
Is it actually possible that a concussion could impact your hearing?
It’s an interesting question: what is the link between concussions and tinnitus? Because it’s more accurate to say that traumatic brain injuries (even mild ones) can cause 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:
- Nerve damage: A concussion may also cause injury to the nerve that is in charge of transferring the sounds you hear to your brain.
- Damage to your hearing: Experiencing an explosion at close distance is the cause of concussions and TBIs for lots of members of the armed forces. And explosions are incredibly loud, the noise and the shock wave can damage the stereocilia in your ear, triggering hearing loss and tinnitus. So it isn’t so much that the concussion brought about tinnitus, it’s that the tinnitus and concussion have the same underlying cause.
- A “labyrinthine” concussion: When your TBI damages the inner ear this kind of concussion happens. This damage can create inflammation and lead to both hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Interruption of the Ossicular Chain: There are three tiny bones in your ear that help send sounds to your brain. These bones can be knocked out of place by a significant concussive, impactive event. Tinnitus can be triggered by this and it can also interrupt your ability to hear.
- Meniere’s Syndrome: The onset of a condition known as Meniere’s Syndrome can be a consequence of a TBI. This is a result of an accumulation of pressure within the inner ear. Sooner or later, Meniere’s syndrome can lead to noticeable tinnitus and hearing loss.
- Disruption of communication: Concussion can, in some situations, harm the portions of the brain that control hearing. Consequently, the signals sent from the ear to your brain can’t be properly processed and tinnitus can result.
Of course it’s significant to note that no two brain injuries are precisely the same. Personalized care and instructions, from us, will be provided to every patient. Certainly, if you think you have suffered a traumatic brain injury or a concussion, you need to call us for an evaluation right away.
How do you deal with tinnitus caused by a concussion?
Most often, tinnitus caused by a concussion or traumatic brain injury will be temporary. How long can tinnitus linger after a concussion? Weeks or possibly months, unfortunately, could be the time period. Then again, if your tinnitus has lasted for more than a year, it’s likely to be permanent. Over time, in these situations, treatment plans to manage your condition will be the best plan.
Here are some ways to achieve this:
- Hearing aid: In a similar way to when you have hearing loss not caused by a TBI, tinnitus symptoms seem louder because everything else is quieter. Hearing aids help your tinnitus fade into the background by turning the volume up on everything else.
- Masking device: This device is similar to a hearing aid, only instead of helping you hear things louder, it creates a specific noise in your ear. Your specific tinnitus symptoms dictate what sound the device will produce helping you disregard the tinnitus sounds and be better able to pay attention to voices and other external sounds.
- Therapy: Sometimes, patients can learn to ignore the sound by undertaking cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). You disregard the sound after accepting it. It will take some therapy, practice, and time though.
Obtaining the expected result will, in some situations, call for additional therapies. Treatment of the underlying concussion may be required in order to get rid of the tinnitus. Depending on the nature of your concussion, there could be a number of possible courses of action. In this regard, an accurate diagnosis is key.
Discover what the best plan of treatment might 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. It’s never a good day when you get a concussion! And if you have ringing in your ears, you might ask yourself, why do I have ringing in my ears after a car crash?
Tinnitus may surface immediately or in the following days. But you can effectively manage tinnitus after an accident and that’s significant to keep in mind. Schedule a consultation with us today.