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...

Mobile Hearing Tests Prove Successful in the Field and Beyond

Article
10/24/2022
Female service member in front holds a clicker while wearing a headset. In the background is the hearing test technician..

Mobile audiometry equipment can be used from the point of injury to advanced traumas.

Recommended Content:

Hearing Center of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

DOD Conservation Programs Help to Decrease Hearing Loss

Article
10/20/2022
A group of service members walking

Hearing conservation programs help to reduce hearing loss in the military.

Recommended Content:

Hearing Center of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

New Policy Benefits Noise-exposed Service Members

Article
10/20/2022
A service member wears headphones while sitting at a desk.

New hearing protection fit-testing policy on the horizon.

Recommended Content:

Hearing Center of Excellence | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention

Groundbreaking Study on Trauma-related Sleep Disorder

Article
10/17/2022
Airman with elecronic trackers on his head seen in profile for a sleep disorder study on TSD.

Army researchers publish an important new study on Trauma-associated Sleep Disorder, or TSD.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Sleep

Top U.S. Military Enlisted Leader Shares Experience of Stigma Surrounding TBI

Article
9/30/2022
A man wearing headphones in front of his computer

Recovery after brain injury keeps warfighters mission-ready.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

On National Concussion Awareness Day, Learn the Truth about TBI

Article
9/16/2022
A mountain biker wearing a helmet bikes through hard terrain.

Separate the myths and truths around TBI

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

Ask the Doc: All This Noise is Giving Me Headaches

Article
6/13/2022
Ask the Doc: Noise from ship can cause headaches. Try to give your ears a rest when you can.

Ask the Doc: What is causing all of these headaches?

Recommended Content:

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

New Centers Will Deliver Advanced Care for Serious Eye Injuries

Article
4/27/2022
Army Brig. Gen. Katherine Simonson, Defense Health Agency Deputy Assistant Director of the Research and Engineering Directorate, and Dr. Barclay Butler, Assistant Director for Management, DHA, talks with Army Lt. Col. Samantha Rodgers, Ophthalmology chief (left), during a tour and designation ceremony April 19 at the Ocular Trauma Center – San Antonio Region, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The designation ceremony marked the launch of DHA’s first Ocular Trauma Center, comprised of personnel from Brooke Army Medical Center and the 59th Medical Group. (Photo: Larine H. Barr, DOD)

The Defense Health Agency launched the first of four Ocular Trauma Centers, which will become primary hubs for the treatment of complex eye injuries and development of cutting-edge research programs.

Recommended Content:

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

A History of the Combat Helmet and the Quest to Prevent Injuries

Article
4/25/2022
Lt. Gen. George S. Patton and Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt Jr. are pictured here in 1943 wearing the standard M1 helmet, sometimes called the "steel pot." (Photo: 1st Infantry Division Courtesy Photo)

The combat helmet has evolved over time to improve protection against projectiles and shock waves to reduce the risk of fatal blows and traumatic brain injuries.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Our History | Injury Prevention

Concussion Care Pathway Streamlined for Better Results

Article
4/1/2022
Dr. Gregory Johnson, Tripler Concussion Clinic medical director, conducts a neurological exam on Army Spc. Andrew Karamatic, a combat medic, having him follow his finger with his eyes, at Tripler Army Medical Center, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Neurologic exams are part of the MACE 2 diagnostic tool to assess service members’ Acute Concussion Care Pathway. (Photo: Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal, DMA Pacific – Hawaii Media Bureau)

The Defense Health Agency has developed a comprehensive clinical care program (Acute Concussion Care Pathway) to manage concussions based on the military medical community’s many years of experience with injured service members.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

Brain-Boosting Meal Plans Help Service Members with TBI

Article
3/30/2022
During the NICoE intensive outpatient program (IOP), staff nutritionist Ruth Clark teaches hands-on classes in the on-site patient kitchen. (Photo: Tahira Hayes (Ctr), NICoE/WRNMMC, NSA Bethesda)

Research has shown that dietary changes may help relieve symptoms that might complicate recovery from a traumatic brain injury (TBI), such as chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and sleep problems.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Nutritional Fitness | Total Force Fitness

Immediate Testing: How the Military Evaluates Risk For Brain Injuries

Article
3/28/2022
Pfc. Thomas Icenogle, a student in the Army’s Combat Medic Specialist Training Program at the Medical Education and Training Campus on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, conducts a Military Acute Concussion Evaluation 2 (MACE 2) on Pvt. Alejandro Leija, while Pvt. Dominic Dubois refers to the MACE 2 card. (Photo: Lisa Braun, Medical Education and Training Campus Public Affairs)

MACE 2 allows for a quick assessment of traumatic brain injuries in the field and is similar to sports concussion checks.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

Wear Approved Safety Eye Protection, Save Your Vision

Article
3/25/2022
Gunner with 1Brigade Combat Team 82nd Division wears shaded eye protection as he fires his M249 at Rotation 21-05 at the Joint Readiness Training Center. (Photo: Capt. Joseph Warren)

The Tri-Service Vision Conservation and Readiness Branch, or TSVCRB, encourages service members to wear eye protection while at work and at home to prevent eye injuries.

Recommended Content:

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

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

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
<< < 1 2 3 4 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 4
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