Low frequency vibration in one ear after TBI - Any... - Headway


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Low frequency vibration in one ear after TBI - Anyone else had similar?


So I'm nearly 3 months post TBI and thought I'd provide a little update:

Really struggling with a low frequency vibration in my left ear (this was the side of my head that seemed to have taken most of impact) which I can only describe as hearing a car engine running outside my house. It started about 5 weeks ago but has been on and off. My GP said I had a build up of wax so prescribed olive oil drops twice a day for a week. It seemed to improve slightly but now it's started to get louder and feel like my head is vibrating. Has anyone else had this after a head whack and does it ever go away?

On a more positive note, the third nerve palsy in my left eye seems to be improving ever so slightly - initially the eyelid was completely closed and I could not open it at all no matter how hard I willed it to. The pupil was 'blown' and hardly any of the iris colour could be seen. Over the last few weeks, the eyelid has started to open by about a quarter and the pupil has reduced massively in line with the 'good eye'. However, this now poses another dilemma with having to contend with horrendous double vision and nystagmus (shaky eye). Having to wear the eye patch every day now as it makes the headache worse if I try to keep it closed. Trying to see the positives in that at least it's started to open again.

26 Replies

Hi. I haven't experienced your symptoms, but I do have a suggestion .

I have a severe problem with sensory overload, particularly with sounds and I have been working with a hearing therapist. I think that that would be the type of person to fully assess and help you. The referral was through my GP to the local neurological rehabilitation service. I had a telephone assessment with the consultant for that service and he referred me to three different services, including the hearing therapist.

Please keep in mind that very many GPs actually have extremely limited knowledge of brain injuries and will therefore see some brain injury symptoms as bring caused by other factors.

All the best. 🙂

OasisDreams in reply to Marnie22

Thanks Marnie, that's a great suggestion. It seems to be better today but some days it is unbearable! I've got a 3 month review with my neurologist end of the month so I'll bring it up with him and go from there :)

Hope you are keeping well? I was due to be coming to the Headway group on the 13th but I'm guessing with lockdown happening, that might be postponed (though I've not heard anything from them just yet)


Marnie22 in reply to OasisDreams

Hi. I am getting over a virus that has caused problems with my ear/nose and also horrible vertigo, but I am getting there. My doctor prescribed a weird thing where you have to blow up a balloon with your nose! Apparently it equalises the pressure and it is helping.

Regarding the Headway group, I am a bit confused. I had a phone call today from one of the staff at the local group, saying that the group wouldn't be on because of the new lockdown. I said that I was surprised at this because I had checked on the government website and it clearly says that support groups for people with long term health conditions are exempt. I don't understand why the top people at the Headway local organisation would think we need to shut the group down, so I asked the staff member to pass on what I have read. I shall have to wait and see now, but am absolutely sure of what I read.

I hope you get somewhere with the neurologist. I don't know if they can refer you to a hearing therapist, as I said, I got there through my GP via neurological rehabilitation. I actually had a phone session with the hearing therapist yesterday and I really think they would be the person to help you. I hope your neurologist is helpful, mine was very, very unhelpful and everything I have accessed I only got because of my lovely GP.

All the best. Stay warm!


OasisDreams in reply to Marnie22

I'm sorry to hear that Marnie22 though I am glad you're on the mend and can almost picture you in a room full of balloons now haha!

That does seem odd about the Headway group, as I'm sure I've read something along the same lines as you have. It'd be interesting to see what they come back to you with.

Have to admit, my neurologist seems to lack any empathy so I'm not holding out much hope with him, but my GP is excellent so they will be my next port of call.

All the best to you too :)


Fantastic to hear about ur eye.Yes u have new challenges BUT still good news.I find the smallest change or improvement in positive way, is always huge to me.I have a sound of a "sicada" in my left ear since my 7/4 accident(was hit on left side).I decided to focus on the horrible sound at bedtime so to help me pass out.Sounds crazy but I get to sleep even for couple hours.

Thanks hippolove1 :) I think I'm similar to you in that respect. Whilst I'm nowhere near where I'd hope to be (I've had to try and manage my impatience), the fact that it's started to open is amazing and the eye specialists can do a lot more for me than if it hadn't opened at all (they were talking about potentially an operation on my eyelid to keep it permanently open :O but that doesn't feel like much of an option to me as I would've had to use lubricant daily in my eye and i wouldn't be able to blink or close it)

Oh gosh, that must be so irritating!! Is the sound all the time for you, or does it dip in an out?

I find the sound is worse when I'm tired and usually linked with a headache or brain fog.


Ya know having brain trauma is not a short process,but every step forward is like hitting the lottery.😁

That sound I hear is probably there all the time? But I only notice n focus on it at night when there is complete silence.

Brain fog😔whole other ball of wax😕lol

Haha, you're certainly right there! I reckon I'll end up with the patience of saint. I don't seem to get worked up or annoyed about things I used to, mainly because I just don't have the energy, but that is definitely a positive to come out of all of this :)

Ah I see, it's harder to ignore when it's silent isn't it. Have you spoken to any doctors about it? x

No docs as I've found a way to deal with it n dont want to be a guinea pig again.

Some things after head trauma u learn to live with.

I hope you will continue to have progress with your eye. And hopefully soon that will come without any negative effects of progress. It’s so hard sometimes! But we have to take the positive for what it is, any progress has to be a good thing. Sending you lots of good wishes.

Bless you HungryHufflepuff :) That is incredibly kind of you and I completely agree. As hard as it is currently, I have to hold onto the progress however small it may be. I'm actually looking forward to my next visit to the eye hospital as it wouldn't open at all when I last went.

Hope you're keeping well! x

I don't know about your hearing problem, but just wanted to say I'm glad your eye is showing signs of improvement, even if it's difficult to manage.

Keep following up with the GP on your hearing - so sorry that you have a new issue to deal with on top of everything else

Jen 🌸 x

Hi Jen :) Thank you so much, I'm quite a lot more optimistic now I've started to see physical improvement. I think one of the hardest things about brain injuries is the progress is so hard to measure but seeing my eye open and comparing to pictures I'd taken throughout my recovery has been reassuring that I have made progress, no matter how slow it is :)

The hearing problem seems to be pretty good today so I'm enjoying a better day, but I will definitely follow up.

Hope you're doing okay! x

So glad you've had a better day, and feel a bit better for seeing some progress - I was keeping a journal, and think I will restart it actually.

I'm a bit crashed out this week because I had a lovely sociable week last week - (albeit with some issues with planning and anxiety issues - didn't spoil the time though).

Luckily I'd thought ahead and put some emergency suppers in the freezer for this week 😊 so all good x

Yeah I'm trying to hold onto the positives and the good days, and there seem to be more good days now so that helps. I've found keeping a journal has been really helpful too, just good to get it all out of your head and down on paper :)

Aw that sounds wonderful, I'm so glad you've had a lovely sociable week. Great idea for the freezer meals! Nothing worse than having to cook when you feel drained and at least it means you can have a nice filling meal to give you a good boost


Best bit was that I'd forgotten I'd put anything in the freezer - until I found a lovely big bowl of chilli yesterday!! Just when I needed it ... Definitely a boost 👍 😊 x

Even better! Chilli is one of my favs, so that would've been a great surprise :) Nice little pick me up x

Yes, I'm afraid I have a similar issue. I've tried everything. What works best is 'listening to it', then acknowledging it, then trying to change the subject...moving about, do something different, have a glass of juice. Doing these things won't stop it but may distract you from any distress it causes. Hope it improves with time x

OasisDreams in reply to Elenor3

Thanks for the great advice Elenor3. I tend to try to have something on in the background, either music, audiobook or something to keep my attention away from my ear. One day it was so loud I had to turn the TV up and my partner came home and asked why the TV was so loud haha! I'm sorry you have a similar issue, it's so irritating isn't it? How long have you been experiencing it?x

Nope, mine is more of a high-pitched sound. After my TBI (and hitting my head on my ear) I had a Dr. scrape dried blood off of my eardrum to improve my hearing. It didn't hurt, but I was gripping the sides of my chair with the Vulcan death grip while he was doing it.

Oh gosh sashaming1, I'm glad it didn't hurt, but I bet that was so scary! How long ago was your TBI if you don't mind me asking? Does anything exacerbate the noise that you know of?


Elenor3 in reply to OasisDreams


It's five years since the tinnitus started, the day I woke up in the neuro unit following a road accident. It seems unpredictable unfortunately, so I can't name anything that woul 'set it off' as such. One of the OTs I saw suggested that it appearing to be louder at bed time coul be because it's quieter and it's therefore more noticeable, while the neuropsychologist suggested that during the day I was noticing it less by being outdoors / busy/ hearing more general sounds, and that at the end of the day when tired out, it became overwhelming. I don't know which is right. After this length of time I've learned to do as they said ... listen to it, accept it and then try to focus on something else. Sometimes that fails (if it been an overwhelming day). I think it's permanent so it's a case of learning to put up wit it for me. You're very early days in terms of brain injury, so you may find it changes, lessens or disappears with time. I was partially blind in one eye and deaf in one ear for about eight weeks pot accident but wasn't aware of it as I wasn't very mobile/ well. It was quite a shock when my vision and hearing returned. So hang on in there and you maybe be surprised at unexpected improvements. 🙂xx

OasisDreams in reply to Elenor3

Thank you for sharing with me, and I will try to do the same. Just have to make the most of the good days and accept the bad ones when they come along.

I am so pleased to hear that your hearing and eyesight has come back, that's incredible. Plus it gives me so much hope :) x

Elenor3 in reply to OasisDreams

I had quite a severe blow to the head. Blood in the inner ear caused the temporary deafness, when it dissipated my hearing came back, but I had tinnitus the day I woke up in hospital. The visual impairment wasn’t picked up in hospital so I wasn’t aware that my vision was affected. It was on one of the first trips out - I was just looking at the view and all of a sudden experienced a major change in vision. After that I was sent for vision checks 🙂x

TBI in 2016. The noise is always the same pitch and constant. Fortunately I can ignore it most of the time.

sashaming1 I'm so glad you are able to ignore it most of the time. I completely appreciate how hard that can be at times. I hope I can get to that stage and learn to live with it x

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