Concussion. It’s a word that many of us are familiar with. In recent years, our understanding of concussions has seen some significant evolution.
In the past, it wasn’t uncommon for us to get a bump on the head and carry on as normal. But as medical professionals increase their understanding of concussions, so too is our awareness of how serious they can be.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The Mayoclinic defines a concussion as: “a traumatic brain injury that affects your brain function. Effects are usually temporary but can include headaches and problems with concentration, memory, balance and coordination.”
So what does this have to do with your hearing?
Well, put simply, our ability to hear depends on our brain. Our ears play an integral role, but it’s our brain that allows us to interpret the sound information around us. Injuries to our brain can impact a number of systems in our body, and this includes our hearing. Today, we’re exploring if a concussion can impact your hearing health.
Causes of a Concussion
As mentioned, a concussion is a TBI. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines a concussion as a traumatic brain injury “caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain.”
The most common cause of a concussion is a fall. They are also more common in people who play contact sports, such as American Football. Other causes of a concussion could include an accident or a blow to the head.
Can a Concussion Impact Your Hearing Health?
Understanding that hearing involves our brain, it’s not surprising that a TBI like a concussion can impact our hearing health. Depending on how severe your concussion is, the effects may be temporary or permanent. The damage to your hearing could be caused by:
- A ruptured eardrum
- Damage to the small bones in your middle ear
- Damage to the membranes or tissues in your inner ear
- Damage to the cochlear nerve
- Disruption to blood flow to your ears
Some of the more commonly reported hearing-loss related symptoms that people report after a concussion include:
- Difficulty processing auditory information, especially in the presence of background noise
- Difficulty locating where sounds are coming from
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Vertigo and/or nausea
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Hyperacusis (increased sensitivity to certain frequencies and volume ranges of sound)
- Sensorineural or conductive hearing loss
If you or a family or friend are experiencing hearing loss after a head injury, we recommend contacting your primary physician. You may also want to meet with your local hearing healthcare specialists, to ensure that there is no longer-term damage to your hearing. To book an appointment, call Regional Hearing and Balance Center on 208-497-3596 or click here to book a complimentary hearing assessment.