Live Chat


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

You know that scene in your favorite action movie where something explodes next to the hero and the sound gets all high-pitched-buzzing? Well, guess what: that likely means our hero sustained at least a minor traumatic brain injury!

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

Concussions, after all, are one of the more prevalent traumatic brain injuries that occur. And they can happen for a wide variety of reasons (car crashes, sports accidents, and falls, for instance). How something like 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 type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). One way to think about it is that your brain is protected by fitting snuggly in your skull. When anything occurs and shakes the head violently enough, your brain begins moving around inside of your skull. But your brain could wind up crashing into the inside of your skull because of the small amount of extra space in there.

This causes damage to your brain! The brain can impact one or more sides of your skull. And when this occurs, you get a concussion. This example makes it quite clear that a concussion is literally damage to the brain. Here are a few symptoms of a concussion:

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

This list is not complete, but you get the idea. A few 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 complete recovery. But, repeated or multiple concussions are a bigger problem (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?

The question of concussions and tinnitus is an intriguing one. Because it’s more correct to say that traumatic brain injuries (even mild ones) can cause tinnitus, It isn’t just concussions. That ringing in your ears can be activated by even minor brain injuries. Here are a couple of ways that might occur:

  • Meniere’s Syndrome: A TBI can cause the development of a condition known as Meniere’s Syndrome. When pressure builds up in the inner ear this condition can happen. Significant hearing loss and tinnitus can become a problem over time as a result of Menier’s disease.
  • A “labyrinthine” concussion: This kind of concussion takes place when the inner ear is injured as a result of your TBI. 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 damaged by a concussion. When this occurs, the messages that get sent from your ear cannot be properly processed, and tinnitus might happen consequently.
  • Disruption of the Ossicular Chain: There are three bones in your ear that help transmit sounds to your brain. These bones can be pushed out of place by a substantial concussive, impactive event. This can disrupt your ability to hear and cause tinnitus.
  • Nerve damage: There’s also a nerve that is in charge of sending sounds you hear to your brain, which a concussion can damage.
  • Damage to your hearing: For members of the armed forces, TBIs and concussions are often a result of distance to an explosion. Permanent hearing loss can be triggered when the stereocilia in your ears are damaged by the incredibly loud shock wave of an explosion. Tinnitus isn’t always caused by a concussion, but they definitely do share some root causes.

Of course it’s significant to note that no two brain injuries are exactly alike. 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 should call us for an evaluation as soon as possible.

How do you treat tinnitus caused by a concussion?

Most frequently, tinnitus triggered by a concussion or traumatic brain injury will be temporary. How long can tinnitus linger after a concussion? Well, it could last weeks or months. But, it’s likely that your tinnitus is permanent if it persists for more than a year. In these situations, the treatment strategy changes to managing your symptoms over the long term.

This can be accomplished by:

  • Therapy: Sometimes, patients can learn to ignore the sound by engaging in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). You acknowledge that the noise is present, and then ignore it. This technique requires therapy and practice.
  • Masking device: This device is a lot like a hearing aid, but instead of helping you hear things more loudly, it creates a distinct noise in your ear. This noise is custom tailored to your tinnitus, drowning out the sound so you can pay attention to voices, or other sounds you actually want to hear.
  • 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 go into the background by turning the volume up on everything else.

Obtaining the expected result will, in some situations, call for additional therapies. Treatment of the root concussion might be required in order to get rid of the tinnitus. The right course of action will depend on the nature of your concussion and your TBI. In this regard, a precise diagnosis is key.

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

TBI-triggered tinnitus can be controlled

A concussion can be a significant and traumatic situation in your life. When you get a concussion, it’s a bad day! And if you’ve been in a car crash and your ears are ringing, you may wonder why.

Tinnitus may emerge immediately or in the days that follow. However, it’s essential to remember that tinnitus after a head injury can be successfully managed. 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