Tinnitus — a chronic condition of ringing or other sounds in the ears, the symptoms of which can range from annoying to disabling — can arise from a variety of causes, including hearing loss from noise exposure, infections, reactions to drugs, and spontaneously from unknown causes. Once significant category is tinnitus from neck and head injuries.
A study of tinnitus sufferers pubished in 2003 found that more than 12% reported tinnitus from neck and head injuries, with a third of these patients reporting their symptoms arose after neck injuries (such as “whiplash” type hyperextension/hyperflexion injuries) alone. The remainder had experienced either head injuries or a combination of head and neck injuries. The study also found that tinnitus from neck and head injuries tends to be significantly more severe than tinnitus from other causes.
People who have sustained catastrophic injuries (and their families) are often in need of very specific, specialized information regarding the injury suffered, the latest care and support options, research into new treatment options, and the psychological and emotional support that can come from connecting with other people who have suffered similar losses. For some of the categories of catastrophic injuries, the following resources may be helpful:
Tinnitus is the medical word to describe ringing or buzzing noises in the ear. Medically speaking tinnitus is a diagnosis but is not a disease. It is a condition that is associated with another injury, trauma or disorder. While tinnitus may feel like it just occurred out of the blue one day but it is a sign that something is wrong somewhere else. The initial event of causation may have been days or weeks earlier.
SPECT (Single-photon emission tomography) imaging is emerging as a necessary tool in the evaluation and treatment of patients with TBI (traumatic brain injury) based on results of a recent study. One of the reasons is the imaging provides greater ability to detect lesions than MRI and CT imaging, which remain valuable diagnostic tools to identify acute damage to the structures of the brain.
The difference with SPECT is that it can show dynamic information and show functional deficits…deficits that standard imaging such as MRI and CT do not reveal. Given the difficulties of obtaining a definitive TBI diagnosis, especially in mild cases, SPECT can offer valuable information in conjunction with neuropsychological testing.
A JAMA study published in January concluded that people that have sustained traumatic brain injuries (TBI) were more likely to experience a premature death, which is defined as dying before 56 years of age.
The researchers followed everyone born in 1954 and later in Sweden that had been treated medically (outpatient or inpatient) for TBI between the years of 1969 and 2009. The total number of people followed under these criteria was 218,300. The researchers looked at death rates at least six months after the brain injury and were compared with the general population. The study also considered the death rates of siblings of people within the study.
It’s been well documented in medical journals for years that those who suffer brain injury often complain of sleep disturbances. True, loss of sleep after a traumatic brain injury, may in part be due to the associated pain or anxiety following such incidents. However, medical studies clearly indicate that loss of sleep after a traumatic brain injury is often due the brain’s inability to properly produce melatonin after severe trauma.
In 2010, the American Academy of Neurology published studies researched by Dr. Rajaratnam, a leading physician studying the links between loss of sleep and brain injury. He reported that the results from the study “suggest that the brain injury may disrupt the brain structures that regulate sleep, including the production of melatonin”. Simply put, lack of melatonin production in the brain results in sleep loss.
Brain trauma can occur during an auto collision when the head hits the windshield or steering wheel. The skull does not have to have been penetrated or fractured for a TBI to occur. The impact involved in an auto collision can cause the soft brain to strike the hard bone of the skull. This occurs because the impact causes the head, which had previously been in motion, to come to an abrupt stop. The brain continues its forward movement, and impacts the interior of the skull. This impact can cause bruising of the brain and/or a brain hemorrhage (bleeding) which in most cases is not visible at the time of injury.
Blunt trauma is another mechanism of injury during a car accident. This occurs when a moving head slams against a hard object such as the windshield. Often, upon impact with the hard object, and open head wound will be visible. This can also occur if the car occupant is ejected at impact.
There are two main types of Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI:
When a foreign object (such as a bullet) pierces the brain it can cause damage to specific areas of the brain. This type of TBI is known as a Penetrating Injury. Penetrating injuries result in localized damage along the path that the foreign object traveled through the brain. Damage to different areas of the brain will result in different symptomatology.
Automobile accidents account for half of all brain injuries in the U.S. according to Statistics from the Center for Disease Control. A traumatic brain injury occurs when an impact to the head disrupts brain functioning. After a brain injury, the length of recovery varies from person to person and there are many factors that affect the prognosis. Although, the most noticeable improvement happens in the first six months, it is common for a person to steadily improve over a two year period after an injury.
Factors that affect the recovery process include the type and severity of brain injury, the age of person injured, medical history, depth and duration of injured person in a coma.