You Know when you’re viewing an action movie and the hero has a loud explosion nearby and their ears start ringing? Well, at least some amount of minor brain trauma has likely happened to them.
To be sure, brain injuries aren’t the part that most action movies focus on. But that high-pitched ringing is something known as tinnitus. Tinnitus is most often talked about from the perspective of hearing loss, but it turns out that traumatic brain injuries such as concussions can also cause this particular ringing in the ears.
After all, one of the most common traumatic brain injuries is a concussion. And there are quite a few reasons concussions can happen (car accidents, sports accidents, and falls, for example). It can be a bit complicated sorting out how a concussion can trigger tinnitus. But the good news is that even if you sustain a brain injury that triggers tinnitus, you can normally treat and manage your condition.
Concussions, exactly what are they?
A concussion is a particular type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Think about it like this: your brain is situated fairly tightly inside your skull (your brain is big, and your skull is there to protect it). When anything occurs and shakes the head violently enough, your brain begins moving around in your skull. But your brain could end up crashing into the inside of your skull because of the little amount of additional space in there.
This causes damage to your brain! The brain can impact one or more sides of your skull. And when this happens, you get a concussion. When you visualize this, it makes it simple to see how a concussion is quite literally brain damage. Here are a few symptoms of a concussion:
- A slow or delayed response to questions
- Dizziness and blurred vision
- Vomiting and nausea
- Loss of memory and confusion
- Slurred speech
- Ringing in the ears
Even though this list makes the point, it’s by no means complete. Symptoms from a concussion can continue anywhere between several weeks and several months. When somebody gets one concussion, they will normally make a full recovery. But, repeated or multiple concussions are a bigger problem (generally speaking, it’s the best idea to avoid these).
How is tinnitus triggered by a concussion?
Is it really feasible that a concussion may impact your hearing?
The matter of concussions and tinnitus is an interesting one. Because it’s more accurate to say that traumatic brain injuries (even minor ones) can result in tinnitus, It isn’t just concussions. Even minor brain injuries can result in that ringing in your ears. That might occur in a few ways:
- A “labyrinthine” concussion: When your TBI damages the inner ear this form of concussion occurs. This damage can produce inflammation and lead to both hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Disruption of the Ossicular Chain: There are three bones in your ear that help transfer sounds to your brain. A substantial impact (the kind that can trigger a concussion, for instance) can push these bones out of position. Tinnitus can be caused by this and it can also interrupt your hearing.
- Meniere’s Syndrome: A TBI can cause the onset of a condition called Meniere’s Syndrome. When pressure builds up in the inner ear this condition can happen. Substantial hearing loss and tinnitus can become a problem over time as a result of Menier’s disease.
- Nerve damage: There’s also a nerve that is responsible for sending sounds you hear to your brain, which a concussion can damage.
- Disruption of communication: In some instances, the part of your brain that controls hearing can become harmed by a concussion. When this occurs, the messages that get transmitted from your ear can’t be properly processed, and tinnitus may occur as a result.
- Damage to your hearing: For members of the armed forces, TBIs and concussions are frequently related to proximity to an explosion. And explosions are really 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 common causes.
Of course it’s important to note that no two brain injuries are exactly the same. Every patient will receive individualized care and instructions from us. You should certainly contact us for an assessment if you believe you might have suffered a traumatic brain injury.
How do you deal with tinnitus from a concussion?
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 months, sadly, could be the time period. Then again, if your tinnitus has lasted for more than a year, it’s likely to be long lasting. Over time, in these circumstances, treatment plans to manage your condition will be the optimal strategy.
This can be achieved by:
- Hearing aid: Sometimes, tinnitus becomes prominent because the rest of the world takes a back seat (as is the situation with non-TBI-caused hearing loss, everything else gets quieter, so your tinnitus sounds louder). A hearing aid can help turn the volume up on everything else, assuring that your tinnitus fades into the background.
- Therapy: In some situations, therapy, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be utilized to help patients ignore the noise caused by their tinnitus. You disregard the sound after acknowledging it. This technique requires therapy and practice.
- Masking device: This device goes inside your ear a lot like a hearing aid, but it produces particular noises instead of amplifying things. This noise is customized to your tinnitus, drowning out the sound so you can pay attention to voices, or other sounds you actually want to hear.
In some cases, additional therapies might be necessary to accomplish the desired result. Management of the underlying concussion may be necessary in order to get rid of the tinnitus. Depending on the status of your concussion, there may be a number of possible courses of action. In this regard, an accurate diagnosis is key.
Find out what the right plan of treatment may be for you by giving us a call.
You can manage tinnitus caused by a TBI
Your life can be traumatically affected by a concussion. 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 accident?
Tinnitus may emerge immediately or in the days that follow. But you can effectively manage tinnitus after a crash and that’s important to keep in mind. Schedule a consultation with us right away.