Skip to main content

Military Health System

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 Center of Excellence | 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...

Five Clinical Tools To Help Assess and Treat TBI

Article
3/17/2022
An Army 'gun team' brace for the concussion of a 105mm howitzer during operations in Iraq in 2008. (Photo: Master Sgt. Kevin Doheny)

Here are five new ways that doctors can diagnose and treat mild concussions.

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 Center of Excellence

Sports Eye Safety Month: Top Sports Injuries

Infographic
3/15/2022
Sports Eye Safety Month: Top Sports Injuries

#DYK? 14.7% of eye injuries occur during sports. Take care of your eyesight and ensure you’re protecting your eyes during strenuous physical activity.

Recommended Content:

April | Hearing Center of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

Sports Eye Safety Month: Eye Injuries

Infographic
3/15/2022
Sports Eye Safety Month: Eye Injuries

#DYK? 14.7% of eye injuries occur during sports. Take care of your eyesight and ensure you’re protecting your eyes during strenuous physical activity.

Recommended Content:

April | Hearing Center of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

Data Registry Helps Improve Research and Treatment for Eye Injuries

Article
3/14/2022
Pvt. Second Class Jagger Dixon, treats an eye injury during Expert Infantryman Badge testing, June 15, 2021, at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Dixon is a soldier with B Company; 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. Soldiers must successfully execute a variety of warrior tasks to earn their EIB. (Photo: Army Spc. Kay Edwards, 27th Public Affairs Detachment)

Eye injury registry (DVEIVR) transforms data into usable information to help improve initial warfighter care and rehabilitation.

Recommended Content:

Centers of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision Center of Excellence

Ringing in Your Ears Might Be a Sign of Hearing Loss

Article
3/10/2022
Army Col. Randy Lau fires a 120 mm mortar during a live-fire exercise at Camp Roberts, California, June 15, 2021.

Tinnitus can affect your concentration, reaction time, and short-term memory. It can be linked to anxiety, depression and sleep disorders. Some people turn to substance abuse to try to block the sounds.

Recommended Content:

Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Hearing Center of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

A Retired Navy SEAL Discusses his TBI

Video
3/9/2022
A Retired Navy SEAL Discusses his TBI

Retired Navy SEAL Edward Rasmussen discusses his TBI, and urges others to seek treatment if they have symptoms. If you’re experiencing symptoms of TBI, visit health.mil/TBI to learn about the resources available to you.

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

One Airman's Recovery from TBI

Video
3/9/2022
One Airman's Recovery from TBI

After a motorcycle accident, Master Sergeant Stalnaker started having symptoms of traumatic brain injury, or TBI. He tells his story about his symptoms and his road to recovery from physical and emotional wounds as a result. If you’re experiencing symptoms of TBI, visit health.mil/TBI to learn about the resources available to you.

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

It’s True – Carrots (and Other Vegetables) Can Help You See in the Dark

Article
3/4/2022
Each color in fruits and vegetables indicates an abundance of specific nutrients.

Have you ever heard that carrots are good for your eyes, or that they can help you see in the dark? It’s true – carrots are rich in the compound beta carotene, which your body uses to make a form of vitamin A that helps your eyes adjust in the dark. A shortage of vitamin A can cause a host of health problems, including blindness.

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Centers of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision Center of Excellence

Brain Injury Awareness Month Banner

Infographic
2/17/2022
Brain Injury Awareness Month Banner

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. Traumatic brain injuries are a key health concern for the military community. Thanks to innovations across the Military Health System, we are improving quality of life for TBI patients & their families. This month, we will share stories, tips, and resources for TBI prevention and recovery. www.health.mil/BIAMonth #BeTBIReady #BIAMonth

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

BIAM Vision and Hearing

Infographic
2/17/2022
BIAM Vision and Hearing

Vision and hearing are vital senses for effective communication and situational awareness. To defend yourself against injury and maintain mission readiness, wear the proper vision and hearing protection while on and off duty. Find the latest vision and hearing protection recommendations here: • Vision: https://vce.health.mil/Eye-Injury-Prevention-and-Response/Eye-Protection • Hearing: https://hearing.health.mil/Prevention/Evaluated-Hearing-Protection-Devices #BIAMonth #BeTBIReady

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

BIAM Heads Up

Infographic
2/17/2022
BIAM Heads Up

Head injuries, especially from a blast, have become one of the most common combat-related injuries among deployed service members. Typical head injury symptoms are: trouble hearing speech in noisy settings, ringing or other sounds in your ears or head, or dizziness when you move your head while walking or bending down. Talk to your doctor if you have any of these symptoms. For more about TBI and hearing loss, visit: https://hearing.health.mil/Resources/Education/Conditions-and-Concerns/TBI-and-Hearing-Loss #BIAMonth #BeTBIReady

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

BIAM TBI 3

Infographic
2/17/2022
BIAM TBI 3

#DYK Symptoms of TBI aren’t just physical? Severe TBIs can increase the risk for mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. Learn more: https://www.health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Centers-of-Excellence/Traumatic-Brain-Injury-Center-of-Excellence/Patient-and-Family-Resources #BeTBIReady

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

BIAM Head Injury

Infographic
2/17/2022
BIAM Head Injury

DYK? If you sustain a head injury, you could also have vision, balance, and hearing damage problems. See your health care provider right away. https://vce.health.mil; https://hearing.health.mil #BIAMonth #BeTBIReady

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

BIAM TBI 2

Infographic
2/17/2022
BIAM TBI 2

#DYK Most TBIs experienced by service members are mild concussions? But, remember, even a mild TBI can impact your overall health and ability to deploy. Learn more: https://www.health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Centers-of-Excellence/Traumatic-Brain-Injury-Center-of-Excellence/Patient-and-Family-Resources #BeTBIReady

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 46 - 60 Page 4 of 20
Refine your search
Last Updated: September 01, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery