What is The Link Between Concussions And Tinnitus?

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

You Know when you’re watching an action movie and the hero has a loud explosion nearby and their ears begin to ring? Well, guess what: that likely means our hero sustained at least a minor traumatic brain injury!

Naturally, action movies don’t emphasize 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 occur for a wide variety of reasons (for instance, falls, sports accidents, and motor vehicle accidents). It can be somewhat complex sorting out how a concussion can cause tinnitus. But here’s the good news: even if you sustain a brain injury that triggers tinnitus, you can usually treat and manage your condition.

Concussions, exactly what are they?

A concussion is brain trauma of a very particular kind. One way to think about it is that your brain is protected by sitting tightly 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 extra space in there, your brain may literally smash into the inside of your skull.

This harms your brain! The brain can hit one or more sides of your skull. And this is what causes a concussion. This illustration makes it quite clear that a concussion is literally damage to the brain. Symptoms of concussions include the following:

  • Dizziness and blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • A slow or delayed response to questions
  • Confusion and loss of memory

This list isn’t exhaustive, but you get the point. A few weeks to several months is the normal duration of concussion symptoms. When someone gets one concussion, they will usually make a complete recovery. But, repeated or multiple concussions are a bigger problem (generally, it’s the best idea to avoid these).

How is tinnitus triggered by a concussion?

Can a concussion interfere with your hearing? Really?

The matter of concussions and tinnitus is an interesting one. Because it’s more correct to say that traumatic brain injuries (even mild ones) can bring about tinnitus, it’s not just concussions. That ringing in your ears can be activated by even mild brain injuries. Here are a couple of ways that may happen:

  • 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 happen. Significant hearing loss and tinnitus can become an issue over time as a result of Menier’s disease.
  • 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. Irreversible hearing loss can be triggered when the stereocilia in your ears are injured by the exceptionally noisy shock wave of an explosion. Tinnitus isn’t inevitably caused by a concussion, but they definitely do share some root causes.
  • Disruption of communication: In some instances, the part of your brain that manages hearing can become harmed by a concussion. When this happens, the messages that get sent from your ear cannot be correctly processed, and tinnitus might happen as a result.
  • Disruption of the Ossicular Chain: There are three tiny bones in your ear that help transmit sounds to your brain. These bones can be knocked out of place by a significant concussive, impactive event. This can disrupt your ability to hear and cause tinnitus.
  • A “labyrinthine” concussion: This kind of concussion takes place when the inner ear is injured due to your TBI. Tinnitus and hearing loss, as a result of inflammation, can be the consequence of this damage.
  • Nerve damage: There’s also a nerve that is in charge of sending sounds you hear to your brain, which a concussion can harm.

It’s significant 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 certainly call us for an evaluation if you believe you may have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

How do you deal with tinnitus caused by a concussion?

Most often, tinnitus related to a concussion or traumatic brain damage will be short-term. How long can tinnitus linger after a concussion? Weeks or possibly months, unfortunately, could be the time period. However, if your tinnitus has lingered for more than a year, it’s likely to be irreversible. Over time, in these situations, treatment plans to manage your condition will be the optimal plan.

This can be accomplished by:

  • 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 turn the volume up on everything else, assuring that your tinnitus fades into the background.
  • Masking device: This device is a lot like a hearing aid, only instead of helping you hear things louder, it produces a distinct noise in your ear. Your specific tinnitus symptoms determine what sound the device will produce helping you ignore the tinnitus sounds and be better able to pay attention to voices and other outside sounds.
  • Therapy: In some situations, therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be used to help patients disregard the noise caused by their tinnitus. You accept that the noise is there, and then disregard it. This technique takes therapy and practice.

In some situations, further therapies might be required to accomplish the expected result. Getting rid of the tinnitus will frequently call for treatment to the root concussion. Depending on the status of your concussion, there could be a number of possible courses of action. As a result, an accurate diagnosis is extremely important in this regard.

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

You can control tinnitus caused by a TBI

A concussion can be a significant and traumatic event in your life. It’s never a good day when you get concussed! And if you’ve been in a car crash and your ears are ringing, you may wonder why.

It could be days later or immediately after the crash that tinnitus symptoms emerge. But you can successfully control tinnitus after an accident and that’s significant to keep in mind. Schedule a consultation with us today.

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.

Questions? Talk To Us.