You know that scene in your favorite action movie where something blows up next to the hero and the sound goes all high-pitched-buzzing? Well, guess what: that probably means our hero sustained at least a mild traumatic brain injury!
Obviously, action movies don’t highlight the brain injury part. But that high-pitched ringing is something known as tinnitus. Tinnitus is most often talked about from the perspective of hearing loss, but actually, traumatic brain injuries like concussions can also trigger this particular ringing in the ears.
Concussions, after all, are one of the most prevalent traumatic brain injuries that happen. And they can occur for numerous reasons (for instance, falls, sports accidents, and motor vehicle accidents). How something like a concussion triggers tinnitus can be, well, complicated. Fortunately, treating and managing your conditions is typically very attainable.
Concussions, exactly what are they?
A concussion is brain trauma of a very distinct kind. Think about it like this: your brain is situated fairly tightly into your skull (your brain is large, and your skull is there to protect it). The brain will begin moving around in your skull when something shakes your head violently. 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! The brain can impact one or more sides of your skull. And when this happens, you experience a concussion. When you visualize this, it makes it simple to see how a concussion is literally brain damage. Symptoms of concussions include the following:
- Dizziness and blurred vision
- Slurred speech
- A slow or delayed response to questions
- Confusion and loss of memory
- Vomiting and nausea
- Ringing in the ears
This list is not exhaustive, but you get the idea. Symptoms from a concussion can last anywhere between a few weeks and a few months. Brain damage from a single concussion is typically not permanent, most people will end up making a full recovery. But recurring concussions can lead to permanent brain damage.
How is tinnitus triggered by a concussion?
Is it actually possible that a concussion could impact your hearing?
The matter of concussions and tinnitus is an intriguing one. After all, concussions are not the only brain traumas that can cause tinnitus symptoms. That ringing in your ears can be set off by even mild brain injuries. That might happen in a few ways:
- Interruption of the Ossicular Chain: The transmission 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. This can interrupt your ability to hear and result in tinnitus.
- A “labyrinthine” concussion: When your TBI damages the inner ear this type of concussion occurs. Tinnitus and hearing loss, as a result of inflammation, can be the result of this damage.
- Disruption of communication: In some cases, the part of your brain that controls hearing can become harmed by a concussion. When this happens, the messages that get sent from your ear can’t be precisely dealt with, and tinnitus may occur consequently.
- Damage to your hearing: Experiencing an explosion at close distance is the cause of concussions and TBIs for many members of the armed forces. And explosions are very loud, the sound and the shock wave can harm the stereocilia in your ear, triggering hearing loss and tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t inevitably caused by a concussion, but they definitely do share some root causes.
- Nerve damage: There’s also a nerve that is in charge of transmitting sounds you hear to your brain, which a concussion can harm.
- Meniere’s Syndrome: The onset of a condition known as Meniere’s Syndrome can be caused by a TBI. This is a result of the buildup 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.
Of course it’s significant to keep in mind that no two brain injuries are precisely the same. Individualized care and instructions, from us, will be given to every patient. Certainly, if you think you have experienced a traumatic brain injury or a concussion, you need to call us for an evaluation right away.
When you get a concussion and tinnitus is the consequence, how can it be treated?
Typically, it will be a temporary scenario if tinnitus is the consequence of a concussion. How long can tinnitus last after a concussion? Weeks or possibly months, sadly, could be the time period. Then again, if your tinnitus has lingered for more than a year, it’s likely to be long lasting. Over time, in these situations, treatment plans to manage your condition will be the best strategy.
Here are some ways to accomplish this:
- Hearing aid: Sometimes, tinnitus becomes prominent because the rest of the world goes into the background (as is the case with non-TBI-caused hearing loss, everything else becomes quieter, so your tinnitus sounds louder). Hearing aids help your tinnitus fade into the background by turning the volume up on everything else.
- 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. Your distinct tinnitus symptoms dictate what sound the device will produce helping you disregard the tinnitus sounds and be better able to pay attention to voices and other external sounds.
- Therapy: In some cases, therapy, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be used to help patients ignore the noise produced by their tinnitus. You ignore the sound after acknowledging it. It will require some therapy, practice, and time though.
Achieving the desired result will, in some situations, require additional therapies. Getting rid of the tinnitus will frequently call for treatment to the root concussion. The right course of action will depend on the nature of your concussion and your TBI. In this regard, an accurate diagnosis is key.
Discover what the best 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 situation in your life. It’s never a good day when you get a concussion! And if your ears are ringing, you may ask yourself, why are my ears ringing after a car accident?
Tinnitus may surface immediately or in the following days. But you can successfully manage tinnitus after a crash and that’s important to keep in mind. Schedule a consultation with us right away.