If you’ve been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or concussion, you should get your ears checked, and your hearing tested. Injuries caused by loud noises, or head trauma, can lead to dizziness, hearing loss, and tinnitus.
TBI can happen to anyone, but it can be more serious in older individuals. Americans at least 75 years of age are the most likely to be hospitalized for TBI.
Patients who endure a TBI need to undergo stabilization. There may be a delay before the patient or their family members notice any problems with their hearing.
In some cases, complications are not immediately determined. If you have any history of TBI, let your hearing care provider know. Hearing loss and other hearing health-related problems could be bee overlooked.
Possible Outcomes from Auditory Problems following TBI
An Overview of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
A traumatic brain injury is a head trauma that impairs the brain’s normal functioning for a short period. About half of TBI cases are caused by falls. The rest are induced by automobile crashes and assaults. A blow, bump, or jolt that causes the head and brain to quickly move back and forth can make the brain bounce or twist within the skull. Cells can also be harmed.
You don’t need to experience a direct impact on your head to have a TBI. If you are in an automobile accident and forcefully jerk forward, this can cause a TBI whether your head hits something or not. You can experience a brain injury even if you remain conscious.
The word “concussion” may be used interchangeably with brain injury because it sounds less alarming. It’s important to know that a concussion is a TBI. Some evidence shows that hospitals are not thoroughly treating mild forms of TBIs. There was a study on 395 patients who were at least 14 years old and visited an urban hospital because they had mild TBI. Out of those patients who met the typical standards for those who could be released from the hospital without a follow-up, 27 percent ended up having permanent cognitive difficulties and required therapy.
Acoustic trauma occurs when the ears are affected by a head injury (like a direct blow to the ear, or a loud noise within close range). Anyone who has trained or fought in war is at high risk for this particular injury. Many veterans have hearing loss and tinnitus.
Tinnitus and TBI
Over half of patients with TBI develop tinnitus. That number increases if the individual was exposed to a blast. Tinnitus is the first and widely reported problem after a TBI.
Tinnitus is the top service-related reason for veterans to file for compensation disability.
Symptoms of tinnitus can be the result of an injury or medication side effects that are used to treat TBI. This may include SSRI anti-depressants like Prozac, over-the-counter pain medications like aspirin, and anti-anxiety benzodiazepines like Xanax, Klonopin, etc.
Many people who have tinnitus, also experience hearing loss. It may not be noticeable. You can wear hearing aids, which can be programmed to cover phantom sounds. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and/or tinnitus sound therapy can help mask the noise.
Hearing Loss and TBI
A 2018 report concluded that those with TBI and no bone injuries to their head still had some hearing-related loss. Sometimes it was fleeting. A study on 1.6 million people in Taiwan showed that TBIs could lead to over twice the chances of hearing loss within the following decade.
When sounds vibrate through the ear, the eardrum will respond to the sound. Vibrations communicate with three small bones or the ossicles. When those bones vibrate, the vibration travels to fluid in the inner ear and cochlea, which communicates with the auditory nerve.
Possible problems may arise:
If you, or a loved one, have experienced any type of head trauma, and notice hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing for a complimentary hearing evaluation.