What is The Connection Between Concussions And Tinnitus?

Woman with hands on her head suffering from concussion related tinnitus.

You Know when you’re viewing an action movie and the hero has a thunderous explosion nearby and their ears start ringing? Well, at least some amount of minor brain trauma has likely happened to them.

To be sure, brain injuries aren’t the bit that most action movies focus on. But that high-pitched ringing is something known as tinnitus. Normally, hearing loss is the subject of a tinnitus conversation, but traumatic brain injuries can also trigger this condition.

Concussions, after all, are one of the most common traumatic brain injuries that occur. And there are lots of reasons concussions can occur (for instance, falls, sports accidents, and motor vehicle crashes). How something such as a concussion causes tinnitus can be, well, complex. Luckily, treating and managing your conditions is usually very achievable.

Concussions, exactly what are they?

A concussion is a particular form of traumatic brain injury (TBI). One way to view it is that your brain is protected by sitting snuggly in your skull. When anything comes along and shakes the head violently enough, your brain starts moving around in your skull. But your brain could wind up smashing into the inside of your skull because of the little amount of additional space in there.

This harms your brain! Multiple sides of your skull can be impacted by your brain. And when this happens, you get a concussion. When you picture this, it makes it simple to see how a concussion is quite literally brain damage. Here are some symptoms of a concussion:

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

Although this list makes the point, it’s by no means complete. A few weeks to a few months is the normal duration of concussion symptoms. Brain injury from a single concussion is generally not permanent, most people will end up making a full recovery. However, repetitive or multiple concussions are a different story (generally, it’s a good idea to avoid these).

How is tinnitus caused by a concussion?

Can a concussion interfere with your hearing? Really?

It’s an interesting question: what is the link between concussions and tinnitus? Not surprisingly, 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. Here are a few ways that may occur:

  • Disruption of communication: Concussion can, in some cases, harm the portions of the brain that manage hearing. When this happens, the signals that get transmitted from your ear can’t be properly dealt with, and tinnitus may happen as a result.
  • A “labyrinthine” concussion: When your TBI damages the inner ear this kind of concussion happens. Tinnitus and hearing loss, due to inflammation, can be the result of this damage.
  • Meniere’s Syndrome: A TBI can cause the development of a condition known as Meniere’s Syndrome. When pressure accumulates in the inner ear this condition can occur. Sooner or later, Meniere’s syndrome can lead to noticeable 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 damage.
  • Interruption of the Ossicular Chain: The relaying of sound to your brain is assisted by three bones in your ear. These bones can be pushed out of place by a significant concussive, impactive event. Tinnitus can be caused by this and it can also disrupt your ability to hear.
  • Damage to your hearing: Enduring an explosion at close distance is the cause of concussions and TBIs for many members of the armed forces. Irreversible hearing loss can be triggered when the stereocilia in your ears are injured by the tremendously noisy shock wave of an explosion. So it isn’t so much that the concussion caused tinnitus, it’s that the tinnitus and concussion have the same root cause.

It’s significant to emphasize that every traumatic brain injury and concussion is a little different. Personalized care and instructions, from us, will be provided to every patient. You should definitely give us a call for an assessment if you believe you might have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

How do you treat tinnitus caused by a concussion?

Usually, it will be a temporary situation if tinnitus is the result of a concussion. How long does tinnitus last after a concussion? Well, it may last weeks or months. Then again, if your tinnitus has lasted for more than a year, it’s likely to be irreversible. In these cases, the treatment plan transitions to controlling your symptoms over the long run.

This can be achieved by:

  • Therapy: Sometimes, patients can learn to overlook the sound by undertaking cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). You disregard the sound after accepting it. It will take some therapy, practice, and time though.
  • 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 go 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 produces a particular noise in your ear. This noise is customized to your tinnitus, drowning out the sound so you can focus on voices, or other sounds you actually want to hear.

Obtaining the desired result will, in some cases, require additional therapies. Treatment of the root concussion might be required in order to make the tinnitus go away. The right course of action will depend on the nature of your concussion and your TBI. As a result, a precise diagnosis is incredibly important in this regard.

Talk to us about what the ideal treatment plan may look like for you.

TBI-caused tinnitus can be controlled

Your life can be traumatically affected by a concussion. When you get concussed, it’s a bad day! And if you have ringing in your ears, you might ask yourself, why do I have ringing in my ears after a car crash?

Tinnitus may emerge immediately or in the days that follow. But you can effectively control tinnitus after a crash and that’s important to keep in mind. Contact us today to make 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.