According to a new article published in the ASHA Leader about tinnitus, although 10 – 15 percent of the global population is afflicted by ringing or buzzing in the ears, only about “…3 to 5 percent suffer enough to seek medical attention.”
People respond differently to tinnitus, and its effects vary greatly from person to person. Those sometimes more likely to seek out solutions or medical attention, often see their tinnitus connected to another injury or illness. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), for instance. And though that’s not always the case (“A persons’s reaction to tinnitus dictates how well they can manage or get used to its presence,” says ASHA), the effects of a concussion or external injury can often alter the brain’s response and body system interactions.
“In post-TBI tinnitus, it may be more difficult for the brain to desensitize itself to the auditory symptoms because of the reorganization occurring within the central nervous system. Many people with TBI report a new and heightened awareness of ’noise’”.
While it may be easy to dismiss tinnitus as a lesser side effect of concussion syndrome (an injury that requires immediate and lasting care), those suffering from a constant, internal buzzing may disagree. Tinnitus can often have a psychological hold on those who live with it, and emotional problems and depression are often reported side effects.
The TBI-tinnitus link is often seen in servicemen or women, particularly those who have just returned from an active tour, or people hurt in a car accident or sports related injury. Sometimes, tinnitus may be the most noticeable symptom of a brain injury.
Again, a TBI is something that requires the care and advice of a medical professional, but on the road to recovery, there are ways to combat tinnitus at home. Avoiding drinks with caffeine or alcohol is important, as are overabundance of aspirin and salt. WebMD recommends adding soothing sounds to silence and planned time to relax every day. Sleep is also an important part of combatting tinnitus.
Once at a doctor, further treatment can begin for tinnitus. There are many different forms of tinnitus, and its important to find a recovery regimen that includes other TBI symptoms and side effects.