Call Us Today! 518-638-4363
Center For Better Hearing - Glens Falls, NY

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 thunderous explosion close by and their ears start ringing? Well, guess what: that most likely means our hero suffered at least a minor traumatic brain injury!

Obviously, action movies don’t highlight the brain injury part. But that high-pitched ringing is something known as 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 (for example, falls, sports accidents, and motor vehicle accidents). How something such as 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 brain trauma of a very distinct type. One way to view it is that your brain is protected by fitting tightly in your skull. The brain will begin to move around in your skull when something shakes your head violently. But because there’s so little additional space in there, your brain may literally crash into the inside of your skull.

This harms your brain! The brain can impact one or more sides of your skull. And when this occurs, you experience a concussion. When you picture this, it makes it easy to understand how a concussion is literally brain damage. Symptoms of concussions include the following:

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

Although this list makes the point, it’s by no means complete. Symptoms from a concussion can persist anywhere between a few weeks and several months. Brain damage from one concussion is typically not permanent, most people will end up making a total recovery. However, repetitive or multiple concussions are a different story (generally, it’s a good idea to avoid these).

How do concussions cause tinnitus?

Is it really feasible that a concussion could affect your hearing?

It’s an intriguing question: what is the connection between tinnitus and concussions? After all, concussions are not the only brain traumas that can cause tinnitus symptoms. That ringing in your ears can be activated by even mild brain injuries. That may happen in a few ways:

  • Disruption of communication: Concussion can, in some cases, harm the parts of the brain that manage hearing. When this happens, the signals that get transmitted from your ear cannot be precisely dealt with, and tinnitus may occur as a result.
  • Nerve damage: There’s also a nerve that is responsible for transmitting sounds you hear to your brain, which a concussion can damage.
  • Interruption of the Ossicular Chain: There are three 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 position. Tinnitus can be triggered by this and it can also interrupt your hearing.
  • Damage to your hearing: Enduring an explosion at close range is the cause of concussions and TBIs for lots of members of the military. 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 always caused by a concussion, but they definitely do share some root causes.
  • Meniere’s Syndrome: The onset of a condition known as Meniere’s Syndrome can be a consequence of a TBI. This is a result of an accumulation of pressure inside of the inner ear. Eventually, Meniere’s syndrome can lead to noticeable tinnitus and hearing loss.
  • A “labyrinthine” concussion: When your TBI damages the inner ear this form of concussion occurs. This damage can produce inflammation and cause both hearing loss and tinnitus.

Of course it’s important to keep in mind that no two brain injuries are exactly the same. Personalized care and instructions, from us, will be provided to every patient. You should definitely give us a call for an evaluation if you think you may have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

How do you deal with tinnitus caused by a concussion?

Most frequently, tinnitus caused by a concussion or traumatic brain damage will be temporary. After a concussion, how long can I anticipate my tinnitus to last? Weeks or possibly months, unfortunately, could be the time period. But, it’s likely that your tinnitus is permanent if it lasts more than a year. In these circumstances, the treatment strategy changes to managing your symptoms over the long term.

This can be accomplished by:

  • Masking device: This device is similar to a hearing aid, only instead of helping you hear things more loudly, it creates a specific noise in your ear. This noise is custom tailored to your tinnitus, overpowering the sound so you can pay attention to voices, or other sounds you actually want to hear.
  • Therapy: Sometimes, patients can learn to ignore the sound by undertaking cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). You accept that the noise is there, and then ignore it. This technique takes therapy and practice.
  • Hearing aid: In a similar way to when you’re dealing with hearing loss not caused by a TBI, tinnitus symptoms seem louder because everything else is quieter. Hearing aids help your tinnitus fade into the background by turning the volume up on everything else.

In some cases, additional therapies might be required to obtain the expected result. Management of the underlying concussion might be required in order to get rid of the tinnitus. The correct course of action will depend on the nature of your concussion and your TBI. In this regard, a precise diagnosis is key.

Discover what the right plan of treatment may be for you by getting in touch with us.

TBI-triggered tinnitus can be managed

A concussion can be a substantial and traumatic event in your life. When you get concussed, it’s a bad day! And if you’ve been in a car accident 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 important to remember that tinnitus after a head injury can be managed effectively. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment

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.
Why wait? You don't have to live with hearing loss. Call Us Today