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Traumatic Brain injury - Tinnitus

Karns & Kerrison

Tinnitus is hearing sounds when there is no external sound present and this can be caused by traumatic brain injury.

Types of phantom sounds that can be heard in your ears include:

  • Ringing;
  • Buzzing;
  • Roaring;
  • Clicking;
  • Hissing.

The phantom noise can be heard in one ear or both ears and can vary from low sound to a high squeal. It may come and go or be present all the time.

A study in the Archives of Otolaryngology indicates that Tinnitus in the study group with Tinnitus induced by traumatic brain injury was significantly louder than Tinnitus induced from other causes. Traumatic Brain Injury occurs when a sudden trauma or head injury disrupts the function of the brain. One clinical study has shown that after minor traumatic brain injury, many patients suffer from dizziness and more than half complain of Tinnitus and hearing loss. This seems to be common in veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that sustain traumatic brain injuries from the detonation of explosive devises.

Traumatic Brain Injuries can affect the inner-ear, hearing nerves, or brain function linked to hearing. Such injuries can cause Tinnitus. Other causes of Tinnitus can be:

  • Age related hearing loss;
  • Exposure loud noises;
  • Ear wax blockage;
  • Ear bone changes;
  • Normal inner-ear fluid pressure (Meniere's disease);
  • Blood vessel disorders;
  • Certain medications.

Tinnitus induced by traumatic brain injury can cause an increase symptoms normally caused by traumatic injury including:

  • Fatigue;
  • Stress
  • Sleep problems;
  • Memory problems;
  • Depression;
  • Anxiety and irritability.

People experiencing Tinnitus should contact their physician and see an Otolaryngologist.

Depending on the cause of the Tinnitus, there are treatments that a physician can recommend to help with Tinnitus. One such treatment is noise suppression by using an electronic device to suppress the noise including:

  • White noise machines;
  • Hearing aids;
  • Masking devices;
  • Tinnitus retraining.
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