Stop Ringing in Ears After Concussion: Proven Tips

Learn proven tips to stop ringing in ears after concussion and find relief from this common symptom of head injury. Effective strategies for tinnitus management.

If you hear a persistent ringing or buzzing in your ears after a bump, you’re not alone.1 Nearly one in seven people in Virginia suffer from this. It’s often linked to mild to moderate hearing loss.1 And more than 2 million Americans have a severe form of this, which can be disabling.1 This issue isn’t always from loud noises or ear damage. Trauma to your head or neck might be the cause.1

After a concussion, you may find noise really bothers you. Going to busy places like the store might be hard. It’s okay to avoid loud areas at first. But, slowly get back to them. Pick times when they’re not too crowded or loud.

Key Takeaways

  • Tinnitus is a common condition affecting one in seven Virginians, often caused by head or neck trauma.
  • Up to 2 million Americans have severe, disabling tinnitus that impacts daily life.
  • Gradual reintroduction to noisy environments can help manage sound sensitivity after a concussion.
  • Avoiding noise and using white noise machines can provide relief for ringing in the ears.
  • Seeking medical treatment is crucial for diagnosing the underlying cause and getting appropriate management.

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is when someone hears sounds in their ear without any external noise. It might be non-stop or come and go, in one ear or both. It can be triggered by different factors, like mild brain injuries. Most of the time, people with tinnitus hear a high-pitched ring. But, the sound can be different for each person. It might be a hiss, buzzing, or like the sound of static. Ear sensations like whooshes or even dial tones are also reported.

Subjective Tinnitus

Subjective tinnitus is the common kind. Only the person hearing the noise can hear it. Often, it’s tied to loud sounds that have damaged the ear.2

Sensory Tinnitus

Sensory tinnitus points to a problem in the hearing pathway. If the ear or hearing system isn’t working right, it can cause this type.2

Somatic Tinnitus

Moving your head or neck can trigger somatic tinnitus. This is called proprioception.2

Objective Tinnitus

Objective tinnitus happens less often. It comes from something physically wrong, like muscle spasms or issues with the ear’s blood vessels.2

Tinnitus After Head Injury or Traumatic Brain Injury

Tinnitus affects about 53% of people after a traumatic brain injury. In fact, 92% suffer some level of auditory problem.3 One frequent cause is blast injuries. These often happen to military personnel and construction workers.4 When a force hits the head hard enough to cause injury, it can also disrupt the ear’s function. This disturbance can lead to tinnitus.4

tinnitus after traumatic brain injury

Concussions are a common type of traumatic brain injury. Signs can include ringing in the ears, headaches, and memory loss.4 These issues might last weeks to months. Also, repeated concussions can harm the brain permanently.4 Tinnitus may develop after such injuries. If it lasts over a year, the tinnitus could become permanent.4

Treatment for post-concussion tinnitus involves hearing aids, masking devices, and therapy. In more severe cases, additional treatments may be needed.4 Up to 53% of people with traumatic brain injuries – mainly from blasts – might get tinnitus. It can affect one or both ears intermittently or nonstop.3

Several reasons may cause tinnitus after a head injury. These include the ossicular chain disruption and damage to the TMJ. Additionally, certain conditions and hearing loss types can also trigger tinnitus.3 Sometimes, tinnitus is a result of medicines used to address TBI symptoms. But, most often, it directly ties back to the brain injury.3 Management methods involve sound masking, therapy, and more. This could also include acupuncture, meditation, exercise, and seeing an audiologist.3

Using masking can help the brain get used to ignore bothersome sounds. Tinnitus might get worse during high-stress times. So, keeping stress low could help with tinnitus.3

Causes of Tinnitus After Concussion

Tinnitus is when your ears ring or buzz a lot. It can happen after a knock on the head, like a concussion. Concussions are pretty common and can cause a lot of symptoms, including tinnitus. But the good news is that most people get better. It might take a few weeks to a couple of months, but the brain heals for many.5

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

One big reason for tinnitus after a concussion is sensorineural hearing loss. It happens when your inner ear gets hurt. This can mess with how your auditory nerve works. The impact from the concussion can break the tiny parts in your ear. This leads to problems with hearing and makes you feel like there’s a ringing sound.

Labyrinthine Concussion

If the labyrinth in your ear gets hurt during a concussion, you might get tinnitus too.5 This kind of concussion can cause dizziness and problems with hearing balance. The impact messes with how your inner ear manages sound and balance. This results in hearing a ringing sound.

Ossicular Chain Disruption

Change or damage to the three small bones in your ear can also cause tinnitus.5 This damage makes it hard for sound to travel normally. It leads to hearing issues and tinnitus as a result.

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Musculoskeletal Disorders/ Dysfunction

Issues in your neck and jaw can also be a problem. They can make tinnitus worse. Concussion-triggered muscle spasms or joint problems can add to your tinnitus issues.5

Psychological Factors

Anxiety and depression can also make tinnitus worse. They are risk factors after a head injury. They can mess with how your brain handles sound, making the ringing sound worse.5

To treat tinnitus after a concussion, you need to know what’s causing it. Working with doctors is key. They can figure out the right therapy for you.5

Diagnosing Tinnitus After Head Injury

Tinnitus is a feeling of noise in the ear or head. It lasts over 5 minutes and happens at least twice weekly. This happens with no external sound.2 Doctors usually diagnose tinnitus based on what the patient says. They ask when the noise started and what it sounds like. They also ask what makes it better or worse, if there’s hearing loss, and how it impacts mental health. They check for other symptoms, medical history, and if tinnitus is pulsatile or causing severe issues. If there are concerns, referral for more tests is done.2

How to Stop Ringing in Ears After Concussion

Wear ear plugs in noisy spots. They help cut sounds that bother you.4 Concussions often come from car crashes, sports mishaps, or falls. They can lead to ear ringing, headaches, memory loss, and confusion.4 Use a white noise machine if tinnitus keeps you up at night.

Anxiety, depression, stress, and lack of sleep can spike tinnitus.2 Long-term, it may cause fatigue, stress, anxiety, and memory issues.2 Taking care of your mood and sleep is vital. Slowly get used to noisy places again, picking quieter times to visit.

Managing Tinnitus Symptoms

For those with tinnitus, several options can provide relief. They aim to enhance life quality. For instance, if tinnitus results from hearing loss, hearing aids may offer relief.2

Additionally, sound-masking therapies can aid in quieting tinnitus noise. These therapies use white noise or calm sounds. These sounds help to cover the tinnitus sound, helping the patient adjust.6

If tinnitus came with a loss in prefrontal cortex volume and depression, prescription medications can be helpful. Certain antidepressants can ease both the ringing and mental health issues.6

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy

Tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT) is a type of habituation therapy aimed at lessening tinnitus symptoms. It focuses on the limbic and autonomic nervous systems. The goal is to reduce how much the brain notices the tinnitus sound.

TRT uses two key methods: sound therapy and retraining counseling. This approach changes how the patient feels about tinnitus. This helps their brain get used to the sound over time, making them less aware of it.

TRT is a long process, usually taking 18 months to work. But it can give long-lasting results.

The aim of7 tinnitus retraining therapy is to help people live with tinnitus better. It uses both sound therapy and counseling. TRT exposes the patient to soft, background sounds and teaches them coping skills. This makes the tinnitus seem less bothersome over time.

This method works with the brain’s ability to get used to sounds. It helps the person feel in control of their tinnitus.

Sound therapy in TRT uses devices that make neutral sounds, like white noise machines. These sounds cover up the tinnitus noise. This allows the patient to notice other sounds more. The counseling part helps the patient see tinnitus differently. They learn to not let it bother them as much.

This therapy works on the physical and mental sides of tinnitus. Its aim is to help people get used to tinnitus and feel in charge again. Though it takes time, many find that their tinnitus bothers them much less after TRT.

Key Components of Tinnitus Retraining TherapyDescription
Sound TherapyThe use of neutral, low-level sounds to help mask the tinnitus signal and reduce its perceptibility, allowing the patient to focus on other sounds and activities.
Retraining CounselingFocuses on changing the patient’s emotional and psychological response to the tinnitus, helping them view it as a neutral stimulus rather than a source of distress.

TRT shows a lot of promise in managing tinnitus issues, especially after head injuries. It deals with both the body and mind to help control tinnitus. This can lead to a better life quality for the patients.

Sound Therapy for Tinnitus Relief

Sound therapy aims to increase the brain’s background noise. It uses soft and constant sounds.3 This helps to lessen the focus on tinnitus. As a result, the patient notices the tinnitus less and can focus better. Devices or normal sounds like music can help here.3

Almost 15% of adults face tinnitus at some point, with 1 in 5 needing help.8 After a brain injury, over half suffer from tinnitus. Almost all have some hearing problems too.8 The main reason for this is blast injuries, often seen in the military.8

For those with a concussion, tinnitus often goes away in weeks to months. If it lasts over a year, though, it might not ever go away.4 They can use hearing devices or sounds to mask tinnitus. Therapy to help them get used to the sound is also beneficial.4

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Things like therapy, acupuncture, and meditation can lower stress, aiding with tinnitus.3 A correct diagnosis is important for the right treatment.4

Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Tinnitus

Anxiety, depression, stress, and not sleeping well can find tinnitus worse.9 It is vital to manage your stress, mood, and sleep.

Stress Management

Using techniques to handle stress can lower tinnitus’s effect.9 Finding activities that ease stress is key to sleeping better and managing tinnitus.

Getting Quality Sleep

Good sleep is important. Have a routine, like reading or avoiding screens, to fall asleep quicker.9 Adding white noise, like calm music, can cover up tinnitus sounds.9 Putting pillows under your head might help ease tinnitus caused by clogged ears.9

Staying Physically Active

Moving a lot can also help with tinnitus.9 Regular exercise is good for managing stress, which makes tinnitus worse.9

Doing things like managing stress, improving sleep, and exercising can lessen tinnitus’s impact.9 This improves your general health too.

When to See a Doctor for Tinnitus

If your ears are ringing more and it’s hard to focus or sleep, seeing a doctor is wise.2 Hearing problems affect 15 percent of people in Virginia, leading to a lower quality of life.2 It’s a good idea to see an ear doctor, especially if hearing loss is getting worse along with the ringing. Specialists can give you a better understanding and how to manage it.

2 More than 50 million Americans deal with some form of tinnitus, 2 million suffering severely.2 It’s common in people exposed to loud sounds at work, like those who operate heavy machinery or drive trucks.2 For Virginians, around 60 is the age when hearing loss may naturally increase, possibly causing tinnitus.

2 It’s not just loud noises that can cause tinnitus. Head, neck, and ear injuries might also lead to this condition.2 Severe head injuries like skull fractures or whiplash can start or worsen tinnitus.4 Even concussions, a common brain injury, can lead to these symptoms.

2 Tinnitus can bring a lot of other issues too: tiredness, stress, trouble remembering, and even depression.4 After a concussion, you might also notice blurry eyes, dizziness, and other symptoms. These can come with tinnitus as well.

2 Tinnitus from a brain injury might last from weeks to months, needing care from healthcare.4 If tinnitus from a concussion lasts over a year, it might be permanent.

Potential Complications of Untreated Tinnitus

Living with tinnitus means dealing with many other issues. These can include feeling anxious, tired, or not being able to focus. You might also have trouble sleeping, get headaches, or feel down.10 With these problems, it’s hard to find the energy to get help for your tinnitus.

Tinnitus can have serious effects. Studies show it’s linked to high rates of anxiety, depression, and trouble sleeping.10 Those with tinnitus might find it hard to enjoy life or do well at work.

It’s important to know possible risks from untreated tinnitus. Knowing these risks can motivate you to seek help. This includes both medical and coping strategies to improve your health and life.

Seeking Legal Help for Tinnitus After Head Injury

If you got a head injury because someone else was careless, and it led to a brain injury and tinnitus, they might owe you for the damage.2 Figuring out the link between tinnitus and the injury can be hard. But, getting a doctor’s note can help a lot.1 In Virginia, you only have until two years after the injury to take legal action for your suffering or other related losses.1

For legal battles over tinnitus after a head injury, what your medical records and tests show is key to winning.2 At Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci in Richmond, we’ve got skilled lawyers who’ve won big settlements for patients with tinnitus from brain injuries.2

StatisticData
Virginians who suffer from tinnitusNearly 15 percent2
Americans who experience some level of tinnitusMore than 50 million, with about 2 million suffering from severe cases2
Virginians who experience tinnitusAbout one in seven1
Americans who suffer from severe tinnitusUp to 2 million1
Statute of limitations in Virginia for filing a civil lawsuit related to tinnitus caused by another party’s negligenceTwo years1

Tinnitus Prognosis and Recovery Timeline

Many people with tinnitus find it goes away by itself in a few days, weeks, or months.4 However, if tinnitus is from a head injury and lasts over a year, it might not get better.4 Seeing a doctor early is crucial, as they can offer more treatment if you start soon.4 How tinnitus turns out in the long term changes a lot, based on what caused it and how well treatments work.478

Around 10-15% of adults will get tinnitus at some point.8 After a brain injury, tinnitus happens in 53% of cases, with 92% having some hearing issue.8 Tinnitus from loud noises might last between 3-9 months.8 If it seems to beat with your heart, see a doctor; it could show a serious problem.8

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Doctors don’t have a set way to treat tinnitus from head injuries yet.8 Being anxious or depressed can make tinnitus after a head hit more likely. It affects around 20% of athletes with depression and 33% with anxiety.8 Jaw problems can also lead to tinnitus.8 Tinnitus retraining therapy can take 18 months to really help and might not fix it for everyone.8 Some drugs may help, like nortriptyline and amitriptyline, but their success varies.8

Conclusion

Tinnitus is a common symptom after a concussion or brain injury. It impacts millions around the world each year. About 10-15% of adults face tinnitus at some point, with 1 in 5 needing medical help. After a brain injury, about 53% get tinnitus, and 92% have some hearing trouble.11

It’s key to know the causes, diagnose, and treat tinnitus for relief. By teaming with doctors, changing lifestyles, and sometimes taking legal action, patients can reduce ear noises. Also, in sports, like D1 athletes, some develop depression (20%) and anxiety (33%) post-concussion.11

The outcome for tinnitus differs based on cause and treatment success. A 2015 report in the American Journal of Audiology showed improvement for 60% within six months post-injury. Yet, 30% still noticed tinnitus a year later. By managing tinnitus after head trauma thoroughly, individuals can lower its effects and better their life quality.12

FAQ

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is when you hear a sound from inside your ear, but there’s no outside noise. This ringing or buzzing can happen now and then or all the time. It might happen in one ear or both, and it’s linked to many things, like minor head injuries.

What are the different types of tinnitus?

There are several types of tinnitus:– Subjective tinnitus is the most common. Only the person who has it can hear it.– Sensory tinnitus is connected to problems in the hearing part of the brain.– Somatic tinnitus is linked to neck or head movements.– Objective tinnitus, the rarest kind, is because of physical issues like muscle spasms in the ear.

How common is tinnitus after a head injury or traumatic brain injury?

After a head injury, about 53% of people might have tinnitus. This goes up to 92% if you include all hearing issues. Tinnitus is often linked to blast injuries, common among military and construction workers.

What are the main causes of tinnitus after a head injury?

After head injuries, tinnitus mainly comes from five things:1. Inner ear damage can lead to hearing loss and tinnitus.2. Injuries to the inner ear itself sometimes cause tinnitus.3. Problems with the middle ear bones might lead to it.4. Physical issues might cause the senses to mix up, causing tinnitus.5. Tinnitus can be worsened by stress and depression.

How is tinnitus diagnosed after a head injury?

Doctors look for certain symptoms to diagnose tinnitus: hearing sounds that aren’t there for over 5 minutes at a time, at least twice a week, with no real sound source. They mostly rely on what the patient tells them. But, they also consider the patient’s history to rule out serious cases.

How can I stop the ringing in my ears after a concussion?

To ease tinnitus after a head bump, try these tips:– Stay away from loud noises and use earplugs in noisy places.– Use white noise from machines or fans to distract from the ringing.– Get used to noise slowly by exposing yourself bit by bit.– Keep your mind healthy by managing stress and sleeping well.

What treatments are available for tinnitus caused by head injury?

To treat head injury-related tinnitus, options include:– Hearing aids may help if hearing loss is the cause.– Sound therapy aims to cover up the tinnitus noise.– Sometimes, medicines are used, especially if tinnitus brings depression.– Tinnitus retraining therapy teaches the brain to ignore the noise.

When should I see a doctor about my tinnitus after a head injury?

If tinnitus gets worse and affects daily life, see a doctor or an ear specialist. Getting help early is key, especially if tinnitus lasts longer than a year.

What are the potential complications of untreated tinnitus?

Untreated tinnitus can cause a range of problems, from anxiety to sleep issues. Seeking help to manage tinnitus is crucial to avoid these troubles.

Can I seek legal help if my tinnitus was caused by someone else’s negligence?

Yes, if negligence caused your head injury and tinnitus, you can sue for damages. It’s important to have medical proof that links the injury to the tinnitus within the legal timeframe.

What is the long-term outlook for tinnitus after a head injury?

For tinnitus from head injuries that stays past a year, it might be with you forever. The future depends on the cause and how well treatments work. Getting help early and having a good care plan are crucial for the best results.

Source Links

  1. https://www.bbtrial.com/blog/tinnitus/
  2. https://virginiatrialfirm.com/brain-injury-lawyers/tinnitus-ringing-in-the-ears/
  3. https://www.flintrehab.com/tinnitus-after-head-injury/
  4. https://www.carolinahh.com/tinnitus-articles/concussions-tinnitus-what-connection/
  5. https://www.entspecialistsak.com/tinnitus-articles/concussions-tinnitus-what-connection/
  6. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tinnitus/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350162
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7956904/
  8. https://completeconcussions.com/concussion-treatment/post-traumatic-tinnitus-treatment-considerations/
  9. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-health/how-to-sleep-with-tinnitus
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3073029/
  11. https://completeconcussions.com/concussion-treatment/post-traumatic-tinnitus-treatment-considerations
  12. https://www.joinoto.com/articles/tinnitus-after-head-injury