You Know when you’re watching an action movie and the hero has a loud explosion close by and their ears begin to ring? Well, guess what: that probably means our hero suffered at least a mild traumatic brain injury!
To be sure, brain injuries aren’t the bit that most action movies focus on. But that ringing in our hero’s ears represents a condition called tinnitus. Tinnitus is most frequently talked about in the context of hearing loss, but actually, traumatic brain injuries such as concussions can also lead to this particular ringing in the ears.
After all, one of the most prevalent traumatic brain injuries is a concussion. And they can happen for numerous reasons (for example, falls, sporting accidents, and motor vehicle crashes). How something such as a concussion causes tinnitus can be, well, complicated. Fortunately, treating and managing your conditions is typically very achievable.
Concussions, exactly what are they?
A concussion is brain trauma of a very specific 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 begins 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 causes harm to your brain! The brain can impact one or more sides of your skull. And this is what causes a concussion. When you picture this, it makes it simple to understand how a concussion is literally brain damage. Symptoms of concussions include the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Ringing in the ears
- Confusion and loss of memory
- A slow or delayed response to questions
- Dizziness and blurred vision
Even though this list makes the point, it’s in no way complete. Several weeks to a few months is the normal duration of concussion symptoms. When someone gets a single concussion, they will normally make a full recovery. But repeated concussions can lead to permanent brain damage.
How is tinnitus triggered by a concussion?
Can a concussion interfere with your hearing? Really?
It’s an intriguing question: what is the connection between concussions and tinnitus? Not surprisingly, concussions aren’t the only brain traumas that can trigger tinnitus symptoms. Even minor brain injuries can lead to that ringing in your ears. That may happen in a few ways:
- A “labyrinthine” concussion: When your TBI damages the inner ear this form of concussion happens. This damage can cause inflammation and lead to both hearing loss and tinnitus.
- Interruption of the Ossicular Chain: The relaying of sound to your brain is assisted by three bones in your ear. 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 hearing.
- Meniere’s Syndrome: The development of a condition known as Meniere’s Syndrome can be caused by a TBI. When pressure accumulates in the inner ear this condition can happen. Sooner or later, Meniere’s syndrome can lead to significant tinnitus and hearing loss.
- Nerve damage: There’s also a nerve that is responsible for transmitting sounds you hear to your brain, which a concussion can harm.
- Damage to your hearing: For members of the military, TBIs and concussions are frequently caused by distance to an explosion. And explosions are incredibly loud, the noise and the shock wave can damage the stereocilia in your ear, causing hearing loss and tinnitus. So it’s not so much that the concussion brought about tinnitus, it’s that the tinnitus and concussion have a common root cause.
- Disruption of communication: Concussion can, in some situations, harm the portions of the brain that control hearing. When this occurs, the messages that get transmitted from your ear cannot be properly dealt with, and tinnitus may occur as a result.
It’s significant to stress that every traumatic brain injury and concussion is a little different. Every patient will get individualized care and instructions from us. Certainly, if you think you have experienced a traumatic brain injury or a concussion, you need to call us for an assessment right away.
How do you treat tinnitus caused by a concussion?
Most frequently, tinnitus related to a concussion or traumatic brain damage will be temporary. After a concussion, how long can I expect my tinnitus to linger? Well, it may last weeks or months. 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.
This can be accomplished by:
- Therapy: Sometimes, patients can learn to disregard the sound by engaging in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). You ignore the sound after accepting it. It will require some therapy, practice, and time though.
- 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. Hearing aids help your tinnitus fade into the background by turning up the volume on everything else.
- Masking device: This device goes inside your ear a lot like a hearing aid, but it produces specific noises instead of making things louder. Your distinct tinnitus symptoms determine what sound the device will produce helping you disregard the tinnitus sounds and be better able to focus on voices and other external sounds.
In some situations, additional therapies might be required to accomplish the expected result. Getting rid of the tinnitus will often require treatment to the root concussion. Depending on the nature of your concussion, there could be several possible courses of action. As a result, an accurate diagnosis is extremely important in this regard.
Talk to us about what the ideal treatment plan may look like for you.
TBI-triggered 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 crash and your ears are ringing, you may wonder why.
It could be days later or immediately after the crash that tinnitus symptoms emerge. However, it’s essential to remember that tinnitus after a head injury can be managed effectively. Schedule a consultation with us today.