What is The Connection Between Concussions And Tinnitus?

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

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

Obviously, action movies don’t highlight the brain injury part. But that ringing in our hero’s ears signifies a condition called 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 common traumatic brain injuries is a concussion. And they can occur for many reasons (car accidents, sporting accidents, and falls, for example). It can be somewhat complicated sorting out how a concussion can trigger tinnitus. 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 kind of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Think about it this way: your brain is situated pretty tightly into your skull (your brain is large, and your skull is there to protect it). When anything comes along and shakes the head violently enough, your brain begins moving around in your skull. But because there’s so little extra space in there, your brain could literally crash into the inside of your skull.

This harms your brain! Multiple sides of your skull can be impacted by your brain. And when this occurs, you experience a concussion. This example makes it quite evident that a concussion is literally damage to the brain. Symptoms of concussions include the following:

  • Ringing in the ears
  • Blurry vision or dizziness
  • Loss of memory and confusion
  • A slow or delayed response to questions
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches

This list is not complete, but you get the idea. Symptoms from a concussion can last anywhere between a few weeks and a few months. Brain damage from one concussion is generally not permanent, most individuals will end up making a complete recovery. But recurring concussions can lead to irreversible brain damage.

How do concussions trigger tinnitus?

Can a concussion interfere with your hearing? Really?

It’s an intriguing question: what is the link between concussions and tinnitus? Not surprisingly, concussions are not the only brain traumas that can trigger tinnitus symptoms. That ringing in your ears can be set off by even minor brain injuries. That may happen in a few ways:

  • A “labyrinthine” concussion: When your TBI damages the inner ear this kind of concussion occurs. Tinnitus and hearing loss, due to inflammation, can be the consequence of this damage.
  • Interruption of the Ossicular Chain: There are three bones in your ear that help transmit sounds to your brain. These bones can be knocked out of place by a substantial concussive, impactive event. This can disrupt your ability to hear and cause tinnitus.
  • Nerve damage: There’s also a nerve that is in charge of transmitting sounds you hear to your brain, which a concussion can damage.
  • Disruption of communication: Concussion can, in some cases, damage the parts of the brain that control hearing. As a result, the messages sent from the ear to your brain can’t be precisely processed and tinnitus can result.
  • Damage to your hearing: For members of the armed forces, TBIs and concussions are frequently a result of proximity to an explosion. And explosions are very loud, the noise and the shock wave can damage the stereocilia in your ear, triggering hearing loss and tinnitus. So it’s not so much that the concussion brought about tinnitus, it’s that the tinnitus and concussion have the same root cause.
  • Meniere’s Syndrome: A TBI can cause the development of a condition called Meniere’s Syndrome. This is a consequence of an accumulation of pressure within the inner ear. Significant hearing loss and tinnitus can become an issue over time as a result of Menier’s disease.

Of course it’s significant to keep in mind that no two brain injuries are exactly the same. Every patient will get 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 assessment right away.

When you get a concussion and tinnitus is the result, how can it be treated?

Most often, tinnitus triggered by a concussion or traumatic brain damage will be short-term. How long can tinnitus last after a concussion? Weeks or possibly months, sadly, could be the time period. But, it’s likely that your tinnitus is permanent if it persists for more than a year. Over time, in these circumstances, treatment plans to manage your condition will be the best strategy.

Here are some ways to accomplish this:

  • 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 particular 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 external sounds.
  • Hearing aid: In a similar way to when you’re dealing with 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.
  • Therapy: Sometimes, patients can learn to overlook the sound by undertaking cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). You accept that the noise is there, and then ignore it. It will take some therapy, practice, and time though.

In some cases, further therapies may be necessary to achieve the expected result. Clearing up the tinnitus will frequently require treatment to the root concussion. Depending on the status of your concussion, there could be a number of possible courses of action. In this regard, an accurate diagnosis is key.

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

TBI-caused tinnitus can be managed

A concussion can be a substantial and traumatic situation in your life. 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?

Tinnitus may surface immediately or in the following days. But you can effectively control tinnitus after an accident and that’s important to keep in mind. 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.