Taking a major hit to the head can lead to a variety of outcomes ranging from mild to severe. The symptoms of a concussion can be noticeable right away and some that may not appear until days or weeks after the injury occurred.
A concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), is the result of a hard blow to the head that rattles the brain inside your skull causing bruising. This harsh movement can interrupt the neuron signals from connecting with other functions of your brain, such as the auditory system.
When a concussion affects the auditory system, neurons are stretched and tear releasing toxins that destroy other neurons. This reaction causes different types of hearing loss and balance issues. When a concussion occurs, signals are not sent or interpreted correctly resulting in other systems in your body to take over, such as sight and feel.
Common hearing loss symptoms caused by a concussion are:
- Tinnitus: frequent ringing or buzzing in the ears
- Changes or fluctuations in hearing
- Hyperacusis: sensitivity to sound
- Otalgia: ear pain
- Difficulty with processing speech in noise
Common balance symptoms caused by a concussion are:
When it comes to treating auditory issues caused by a concussion it is helpful to reduce any background noise and eliminate distractions when trying to focus on a show, person or task. When speaking with people, make sure you are face to face to allow both your eyes and ears to comprehend what is being said. Also, limit bright lights and excessive time on the computer or phone. If needed, talk to an audiologist about assistive listening devices if needed.
Having a concussion can cause more than just frequent headaches. It is important to make sure you are paying attention to the symptoms you have in order to prevent further damage. A comprehensive evaluation by an audiologist can help determine the underlying cause as well as appropriate intervention strategies to help manage the symptoms persisting after a concussion or TBI.