Tinnitus After Head Injury

Tinnitus After Head Injury

Have you been examined and given a diagnosis of a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI)? Don’t forget to use your ears. For instance, injuries caused by airbags or explosives might have an effect on them and lead to symptoms such as vertigo, and hearing loss.


Anyone can have a traumatic brain injury, but those who are older have a greater risk of experiencing catastrophic consequences from the occurrence.


Hospitalizations due to traumatic brain injuries are most prevalent in patients aged 75 and older in the United States.


In the aftermath of a traumatic brain injury, the first objective for the treating physician is to stabilize the patient.


“The patient reports signs and symptoms of audiological disorders, or family members start noticing the signs,” notes Shahrzad Cohen, an audiologist based in Sherman Oaks, California, during a webinar for the Hearing Loss Association of America. It may take some time before “the patient reports signs and symptoms of audiological disorders or family members start noticing the signs.”


Sometimes issues are recognized a very long time after the fact. Inform your primary care physician or audiologist if you have ever suffered from a traumatic brain injury, no matter how mild it may have been.


It’s possible that hearing loss and other auditory problems went undiagnosed or were given the wrong diagnosis.

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

Tinnitus after Head Injury

A blow to the head that results in a disruption of the normal functioning of the brain is what the medical community refers to as a traumatic brain injury (TBI).


The most common causes of traumatic brain injuries are falls, followed by car accidents, and then attacks. This can happen with any type of impact, including blows, bumps, and jolts.


In addition, it has the potential to harm cells, as seen in the picture provided by CDC.

If you are in a vehicle accident and lurch forward rapidly, you could have a traumatic brain injury even if your head does not contact anything. In addition, you could have suffered brain damage even though you were conscious during the incident.


When speaking to parents, physicians may use the term “concussion” rather than “brain injury” because the former is perceived as a less worrisome term.


However, a concussion is still classified as a traumatic brain injury (TBI). There is some indication that hospitals are not adequately treating traumatic brain injuries that are labeled moderate.


According to the findings of a study that involved 395 patients aged 14 and older who presented at an urban hospital with a mild traumatic brain injury, among those patients who met the usual criteria to be sent home without a follow-up, 27 percent turned out to have lasting cognitive problems, and they required therapy as a result.


Acoustic Trauma

Acoustic trauma is the term used to describe a type of head injury that primarily affects the ears (such as when the victim sustains a hit directly to the ear or is exposed to loud noise at close range).


The incidence of tinnitus and hearing loss is significantly higher among veterans as a direct consequence of the elevated risk of this particular type of injury faced by veterans.

Tinnitus After a Concussion or Brain Injury

More than half of people who sustain traumatic brain injuries end up with tinnitus, popularly known as ringing in the ears; the likelihood of this happening increases if the patient is exposed to an explosion.

According to Cohen, “the first and most documented difficulty with traumatic brain injury” is phantom sounds, ranging from hissing to buzzing sounds. Tinnitus has the potential to have a significant psychological impact. She continued, saying, “It is a huge issue for our patients.”

Tinnitus is the most common reason for former military service members to petition for compensatory incapacity due to a condition that is tied to their military service.

Tinnitus can be a direct result of the injury or a side effect of medications that are commonly used to treat symptoms linked to a TBI.


These medications include the SSRI anti-depressants (Prozac and others), common over-the-counter pain medications (aspirin and others), and anti-anxiety benzodiazepines. Tinnitus can be a direct result of the injury or a side effect of medications that are commonly used to treat symptoms linked to (Xanax, Klonopin, and more).

Even if they are unaware of it, the majority of people who suffer from tinnitus also have some degree of hearing loss.

In addition to cognitive-behavioral treatment and/or tinnitus sound therapy, the use of cutting-edge hearing aids that can be programmed to cover up phantom noises can be quite beneficial in managing tinnitus.

Lingering Inflammation

Tinnitus after Head Injury

In cases that are not severe, a structural brain injury is not likely to be found with routine neuroimaging.


Cohen says that the test could miss minor alterations that are frequent with moderate traumatic brain injuries. Long nerve fibers that connect the brain’s various regions can be damaged as the brain moves and rotates inside the bony skull.


This type of damage is referred to medically as diffuse axonal injury. Because these tears are typically quite small, it’s possible that a computed tomography (CT) scan or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan won’t be able to detect them.


However, they could cause inflammation that lasts for a long time.

In support of this theory, one study discovered that veterans with a history of moderate traumatic brain injuries had unique symptoms of inflammation in their blood even years after the initial injury.


According to a study involving over 200,000 veterans, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) increase the risk of developing sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and other sleep issues up to 14 years after the initial injury.


If you had a mild traumatic brain injury, you had an increased chance of developing a sleep disturbance.


According to the researchers, people in this category are more likely to have suffered multiple injuries that led to widespread inflammation rather than a single severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Risks for Traumatic Brain Injury


There is the potential for issues to arise at any stage of this process, including the following examples:


  • A disease known as hemotympanum can occur when the eardrum is ruptured, which causes blood to collect in the middle ear.
  • If the ossicular bones are broken or displaced in any way, the transmission of sound may be impaired. Otosclerosis is the medical term for the disorder in which the three bones might fuse together, becoming rigid and losing their ability to vibrate.
  • When a brain injury occurs, it can sometimes cause an abnormal bone growth known as heterotopic ossification. This development can have an effect on your hearing if it takes place within the ear.
  • The condition known as Meniere’s syndrome, which is often referred to as hydrops, is brought on by an increase in pressure in the ear after hitting the head as they are filled with fluid. It is possible that symptoms will not appear until one month or even years following a traumatic brain injury.
  • Even in the absence of other broken bones, injuries caused by airbags or blasts can cause damage to the hair cells in the cochlea, which can result in tinnitus, vertigo, and hearing loss.
  • A broken bone has the potential to sever the auditory nerve.
  • A traumatic brain injury has the potential to damage the hair cells found in the cochlea (which are responsible for detecting soundwaves)


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