Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Ask the Doc: Can a Concussion Affect Hearing and Vision?

Image of Elizabeth Kirkpatrick, a physical therapist for the Fort Drum Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Clinic, New York, uses a model of the inner ear on Feb. 27, 2019, to demonstrate how a concussion can cause inner ear, or vestibular, damage which may result in dizziness, anxiety, depression, moodiness, balance problems and irritability to name a few. (Photo: Warren W. Wright Jr., Fort Drum MEDDAC). Elizabeth Kirkpatrick, a physical therapist for the Fort Drum Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Clinic, New York, uses a model of the inner ear on Feb. 27, 2019, to demonstrate how a concussion can cause inner ear, or vestibular, damage which may result in dizziness, anxiety, depression, moodiness, balance problems and irritability to name a few. (Photo: Warren W. Wright Jr., Fort Drum MEDDAC)

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Hearing Center of Excellence | Vision Center of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Ask The Doc

Dear Doc: A few weeks ago, I fell and hit my head but didn't think much about it.

Afterwards, I started to get terrible headaches. Then, I started to have blurry vision and ringing in my ears.

When I finally went to the doctor, she told me I had a concussion.

I didn't know concussions could affect hearing and vision. Is it typical to have hearing and vision problems from a concussion?

Thanks in advance doc!

-Army Spc. Sandra Headstone


Illustration of a male face with the words "Ask the Doc"Dear My Head Hurts: First, let me say I feel your pain, no matter how you hit your head or were jolted.

Concussions can cause a variety of brain-related issues, including vision and hearing problems. They are classified as a mild Traumatic Brain Injury.

I found the perfect people to talk about this. I contacted Dr. Amy Boudin-George, an audiologist and acting section lead at the Hearing Center of Excellence's clinical care, rehabilitation, and restoration section. HCE also provided me with Dr. Karen Lambert, clinical physical therapist, HCE vestibular program manager.

I also contacted Dr. Felix Barker, the associate director for research at the Vision Center of Excellence. He is the director of rehabilitation and reintegration.

Here's what they said:


It is not uncommon to have hearing, vision, and balance related symptoms after a concussion.

Symptoms can vary during the acute phase (right after a concussion) from person to person.

The good news is that the typical headache and other symptoms from a concussion can resolve completely on their own over time.

Try to maintain an upbeat outlook and expect a full recovery from your concussion. Studies have shown those attitudes to be the greatest influences on positive outcomes.

If you feel you are not improving on a day-to-day basis, it might help to have your symptoms further evaluated by a provider who specializes in concussion assessment.

Sensitivity to light, blurry vision that comes and goes, double vision, and difficulty reading are post-concussion vision problems that can happen. Headaches with visual tasks, reduction or loss of visual field, and difficulties with eye movements also may happen.

If these seem to persist, you are very likely to benefit by seeing your optometrist or ophthalmologist for both immediate and longer term management of your vision problems.

The same is true for ringing in the ears.

You may have experienced damage to the structure and function of your ear, and you might have changes in the way your brain processes hearing. This depends on the nature of the injury.

If you have ringing in your ears that lasts longer than a few weeks and is constant, or you also seem to have some hearing loss, it is a good idea to see an audiologist for a hearing assessment.

If you are having problems with dizziness, get an examination by an audiologist, optometrist or physical therapist that specializes in assessment of the vestibular system (your inner ear's balance and gaze stability system). This may help you find your path to recovery.


Spc. Headstone, I hope you got some positive answers from our experts. Remember, for the most part, concussions get better on their own as long as you can stand the temporary side effects. But don't ignore those symptoms if they don't go away. Seek help from specialized health care professionals who have your hearing and vision at heart.

Also, be careful when outside and wear a helmet and other protective gear if it fits the activity. Concussions not only can happen at home from a fall or bump of the head, but also from sports and military training.

If you feel unwell after a fall or jolt, don't wait to get help.

Good luck my friend and as always…take care out there!

You also may be interested in...

TBICoE Quarterly Education Series: Social Determinants of Health

Publication
6/21/2022

The TBICoE Quarterly Education Series is back August, 17 2022! The topic is Social Determinants of Health Social determinants of health are conditions in the environment that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes. Please join TBICoE and researchers of the Traumatic Brain Injury Model System to review barriers and facilitators to care among individuals living with traumatic brain injury. Please join TBICoE and researchers of the Traumatic Brain Injury Model System to review barriers and facilitators to care among individuals living with traumatic brain injury.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBI Educators | TBICoE Research | TBI Education and Training Events

Neuroimaging Following Mild TBI Clinical Recommendation

Publication
5/16/2022

This TBICoE clinical recommendation allows primary care managers to make an informed, evidenced-based decision regarding whether or not imaging is indicated following a concussion/mild TBI.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBI Provider Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury

2021 Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence Annual Report

Publication
4/26/2022

The 2021 Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence (TBICoE) Annual Report provides a look at accomplishments and activities from calendar year 2021.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Educators | TBICoE Research | TBI Provider Resources

References and Acknowledgements: Neuroimaging Following Concussion Clinical Recommendation

Publication
4/6/2022

This document acknowledges those who participated in the expert working group with the Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence and provides the resources and references used to develop the Neuroimaging Following Concussion/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Guidance for the Primary Care Manager.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

TBICoE 2021 Publications

Publication
3/16/2022

Master list of 2021 TBICoE articles published in research journals

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Patient and Family Resources | TBICoE Research | Traumatic Brain Injury

2000-Q32021 DOD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
1/20/2022

TBICoE is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking traumatic brain injury data in the U.S. military. Here you’ll find data on the number of active-duty service members—anywhere U.S. forces are located—with a first-time TBI diagnosis from calendar year 2000 through the third quarter of 2021. The data is also broken down by each branch of the armed services.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Worldwide TBI Numbers | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBI Provider Resources | Patient and Family Resources

2021 Q3 DOD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
1/20/2022

TBICoE is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking traumatic brain injury data in the U.S. military. Here you’ll find data on the number of active-duty service members—anywhere U.S. forces are located—with a first-time TBI diagnosis in the third quarter of calendar year 2021. The data is also broken down by each branch of the armed services.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Worldwide TBI Numbers | TBI Provider Resources | Patient and Family Resources

TBI Hot Topics Bulletin, December 2021 Edition

Publication
12/8/2021

The TBI Hot Topics Bulletin is a product of the TBICoE research branch and provides a quarterly summary of TBI research relevant to health care providers. This issue covers research published July through September 2021.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury

Acute Concussion Pathway of Care: MACE 2 and PRA Training

Publication
10/26/2021

The Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence is hosting a combined Military Acute Concussion Evaluation (MACE 2) and Progressive Return to Activity (PRA) clinical recommendation virtual training.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBI Provider Resources | TBI Education and Training Events | TBI Educators | Centers of Excellence

Assessment and Management of Dizziness and Visual Disturbances Following Concussion/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Publication
10/22/2021

This clinical recommendation provides medical staff with a single, comprehensive reference for the assessment and management of dizziness and visual disturbances following mild TBI/concussion. Dizziness and visual disturbances often present with overlapping symptoms and should prompt a provider to perform a visual and dizziness—or vestibular—assessment.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBI Provider Resources | TBI Resources | Centers of Excellence

Improving Relationships after TBI

Publication
10/21/2021

Flier for the Interactive Relationship Building Workshop for Active-Duty Military and Veteran TBI Caregivers and Families: This flier provides information on TBICoE's educational session for caregivers of active-duty service members and veterans who have sustained a TBI. In addition to sharing caregiver resources and current research initiatives, webinar topics will also include relationship building strategies, improving communication and addressing intimacy after TBI.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Patient and Family Resources | TBI Provider Resources | Centers of Excellence | TBI Resources

2000-Q2 2021 DOD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
10/14/2021

TBICoE is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking traumatic brain injury data in the U.S. military. Here you’ll find data on the number of active-duty service members—anywhere U.S. forces are located—with a first-time TBI diagnosis from calendar year 2000 through the second quarter of 2021. The data is also broken down by each branch of the armed services.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | DOD TBI Worldwide Numbers | Centers of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury

2021 Q2 DOD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
10/14/2021

TBICoE is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking traumatic brain injury data in the U.S. military. Here you’ll find data on the number of active-duty service members—anywhere U.S. forces are located—with a first-time TBI diagnosis in the second quarter of calendar year 2021. The data is also broken down by each branch of the armed services.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | DOD TBI Worldwide Numbers | Traumatic Brain Injury

DOD TBI Worldwide Numbers At-A-Glance

Publication
8/10/2021

TBICoE is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking traumatic brain injury data in the U.S. military. The "DOD TBI Numbers At-A-Glance" provide a high level overview of TBI's sustained since 2000 and also show the data by severity and service branch.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | DOD TBI Worldwide Numbers

2000-Q1 2021 DOD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
8/9/2021

TBICoE is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking traumatic brain injury data in the U.S. military. Here you’ll find data on the number of active-duty service members—anywhere U.S. forces are located—with a first-time TBI diagnosis from calendar year 2000 through the first quarter of 2021. The data is also broken down by each branch of the armed services.

Recommended Content:

DOD TBI Worldwide Numbers | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 6
Refine your search
Last Updated: April 28, 2022

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.