You know that scene in your favorite action movie where something blows up near the hero and the sound gets all high-pitched-buzzing? Well, guess what: that most likely means our hero sustained at least a minor traumatic brain injury!
Naturally, action movies don’t highlight the brain injury part. But that high-pitched ringing is something called tinnitus. Usually, hearing loss is the topic of a tinnitus conversation, but traumatic brain injuries can also cause this condition.
Concussions, after all, are one of the more common traumatic brain injuries that occur. And they can happen for many reasons (for instance, falls, sporting accidents, and motor vehicle accidents). How something like a concussion causes tinnitus can be, well, complex. But the good news is that 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 a specific kind of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Think about it this way: your brain is nestled pretty tightly into your skull (your brain is big, 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 additional space in there, your brain could literally crash into the inside of your skull.
This causes damage to your brain! Multiple sides of your skull can be hit by your brain. And this is what brings about a concussion. When you picture this, it makes it easy to see how a concussion is literally brain damage. Here are a few symptoms of a concussion:
- Ringing in the ears
- Blurry vision or dizziness
- Nausea and vomiting
- A slow or delayed response to questions
- Slurred speech
- Loss of memory and confusion
Even though this list makes the point, it’s by no means exhaustive. Symptoms from a concussion can persist anywhere between a few weeks and several months. When someone gets a single concussion, they will typically make a complete recovery. But repeated concussions can lead to irreversible brain damage.
How is tinnitus triggered by a concussion?
Is it actually feasible that a concussion may impact your hearing?
It’s an intriguing question: what is the link between tinnitus and concussions? Because it’s more accurate to say that traumatic brain injuries (even minor ones) can lead to tinnitus, It isn’t only concussions. That ringing in your ears can be set off by even mild brain injuries. That may happen in a couple of ways:
- Meniere’s Syndrome: The onset of a condition known as Meniere’s Syndrome can be a consequence of a TBI. This is a consequence of an accumulation of pressure inside of the inner ear. Significant hearing loss and tinnitus can become a problem over time as a result of Menier’s disease.
- 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 result of this damage.
- Nerve damage: A concussion may also trigger injury to the nerve that is in charge of transferring the sounds you hear to your brain.
- Disruption of communication: In some instances, the part of your brain that manages hearing can become damaged by a concussion. As a result, the signals sent from the ear to your brain can’t be precisely digested and tinnitus can be the outcome.
- Disruption of the Ossicular Chain: There are three tiny bones in your ear that help send sounds to your brain. A major impact (the kind that can trigger a concussion, for instance) can push these bones out of place. This can disrupt your ability to hear and result in tinnitus.
- Damage to your hearing: Enduring an explosion at close distance is the cause of concussions and TBIs for many members of the armed forces. Permanent hearing loss can be caused when the stereocilia in your ears are injured by the incredibly noisy shock wave of an explosion. Tinnitus isn’t inevitably 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 precisely alike. Personalized care and instructions, from us, will be given to every patient. Indeed, 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 manage tinnitus from a concussion?
Most often, tinnitus related to a concussion or traumatic brain injury will be short-term. How long can tinnitus last after a concussion? Well, it may last weeks or months. But, it’s likely that your tinnitus is permanent if it lasts more than a year. Over time, in these circumstances, treatment plans to manage your condition will be the optimal strategy.
Here are some ways to achieve this:
- Therapy: In some situations, therapy, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be utilized to help patients ignore the noise produced by their tinnitus. You disregard the sound after accepting it. It will require some therapy, practice, and time though.
- Masking device: This device is similar to a hearing aid, only instead of helping you hear things more loudly, it produces a distinct noise in your ear. Your distinct tinnitus symptoms dictate what sound the device will produce helping you disregard the tinnitus sounds and be better able to focus on voices and other outside sounds.
- 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. A hearing aid can help turn the volume up on everything else, assuring that your tinnitus fades into the background.
In some cases, further therapies may be required to obtain the desired result. Treatment of the root concussion may be required in order to get rid of the tinnitus. Depending on the nature of your concussion, there may be a number of possible courses of action. As a result, a precise diagnosis is incredibly important in this regard.
Find out what the best plan of treatment might be for you by getting in touch with us.
TBI-caused tinnitus can be controlled
Your life can be traumatically affected by a concussion. It’s never a good day when you get concussed! And if you’ve been in a car accident and your ears are ringing, you might wonder why.
It could be days later or immediately after the crash that tinnitus symptoms surface. But you can effectively control tinnitus after a crash and that’s significant to keep in mind. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.