You Know when you’re viewing an action movie and the hero has a thunderous explosion nearby and their ears start ringing? Well, guess what: that probably means our hero sustained at least a minor traumatic brain injury!
To be certain, brain injuries aren’t the bit that most action movies focus on. But that ringing in our hero’s ears signifies a condition called 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 happen for a wide variety of reasons (for example, falls, sports accidents, and motor vehicle accidents). It can be somewhat complex sorting out how a concussion can trigger tinnitus. Fortunately, treating and managing your conditions is typically very achievable.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is brain trauma of a very distinct 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 your brain could wind up smashing into the inside of your skull because of the little amount of extra space in there.
This causes harm to your brain! The brain can impact one or more sides of your skull. And when this occurs, you experience a concussion. This illustration makes it quite evident that a concussion is literally damage to the brain. Here are some symptoms of a concussion:
- Dizziness and blurred vision
- A slow or delayed response to questions
- Ringing in the ears
- Slurred speech
- Confusion and loss of memory
- Vomiting and nausea
This list isn’t complete, but you get the idea. Several weeks to several months is the normal duration of concussion symptoms. Brain injury from one concussion is typically not permanent, most individuals will end up making a total recovery. But, repeated or multiple concussions are a bigger problem (generally, it’s the best idea to avoid these).
How do concussions cause tinnitus?
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 result in that ringing in your ears. That might occur in a couple of ways:
- Meniere’s Syndrome: The development of a condition known as Meniere’s Syndrome can be caused by a TBI. This is a consequence of an accumulation of pressure inside of the inner ear. Sooner or later, Meniere’s syndrome can result in noticeable tinnitus and hearing loss.
- Nerve damage: A concussion may also cause damage to the nerve that is in charge of transferring the sounds you hear to your brain.
- Interruption of the Ossicular Chain: There are three tiny bones in your ear that help transmit sounds to your brain. A significant impact (the type that can cause a concussion, for example) can jostle these bones out of position. This can disrupt your ability to hear and cause tinnitus.
- A “labyrinthine” concussion: This kind of concussion happens when the inner ear is injured as a result of your TBI. Tinnitus and hearing loss, due to inflammation, can be the consequence of this damage.
- 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, causing hearing loss and tinnitus. Tinnitus isn’t always caused by a concussion, but they definitely do share some common causes.
- Disruption of communication: Concussion can, in some cases, harm the parts of the brain that control hearing. As a result, the signals sent from the ear to your brain can’t be precisely processed and tinnitus can result.
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 suffered 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 result, how can it be managed?
Most frequently, tinnitus caused by a concussion or traumatic brain injury will be temporary. How long does tinnitus last after a concussion? Well, it could last weeks or months. Then again, 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 best plan.
Here are some ways to accomplish this:
- Masking device: This device goes inside your ear a lot like a hearing aid, but it creates particular noises instead of making things louder. This noise is customized to your tinnitus, drowning out the sound so you can pay attention to voices, or other sounds you really want to hear.
- Hearing aid: Sometimes, tinnitus becomes dominant because the rest of the world goes into the background (as is the case with non-TBI-caused hearing loss, everything else gets quieter, so your tinnitus sounds louder). Hearing aids help your tinnitus fade into the background by turning up the volume on everything else.
- Therapy: Sometimes, patients can learn to disregard the sound by undertaking cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). You disregard the sound after accepting it. It will take some therapy, practice, and time though.
Achieving the expected result will, in some situations, require added therapies. Getting rid of the tinnitus will frequently require treatment to the root concussion. Depending on the nature of your concussion, there could be several possible courses of action. This means a precise diagnosis is extremely important in this regard.
Consult us about what the right treatment plan may look like for you.
You can control tinnitus caused by a TBI
Your life can be traumatically impacted by a concussion. It’s never a good day when you get a concussion! 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. However, it’s important to remember that tinnitus after a head injury can be managed effectively. Give us a call today to make an appointment.