Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can result from various accidents. TBIs can have a severe physical, cognitive and emotional impact. They require prompt medical attention and treatment.

Knowing the signs of a TBI allows you to seek appropriate care for yourself or a loved one.

Loss of consciousness

One clear sign of a TBI is a loss of consciousness. However, note that someone may have a TBI even if they remained awake and alert after a head impact.

Persistent headaches

TBI can cause frequent and persistent headaches, especially those that worsen over time. These headaches may come with other symptoms. You might experience nausea, sensitivity to light, or difficulty concentrating.

Memory loss

Difficulty remembering events before or after the injury is a common sign of a TBI. Individuals may have short-term memory loss or trouble recalling details of the traumatic event.

Dizziness and balance issues

TBIs can affect an individual’s balance and coordination. The injured person may exhibit persistent dizziness or unsteady walking.

Changes in vision or hearing

Blurred vision or difficulty focusing are common with a TBI. You could also have hearing-related symptoms like ringing in the ears (tinnitus) or changes in hearing sensitivity.

Mood swings and emotional changes

TBIs can impact emotional well-being, leading to irritability and emotional instability. Individuals may experience heightened emotions, anxiety, or depression.

Sleep disturbances

Difficulty falling asleep, excessive sleepiness, or changes in sleep duration can signify a TBI. Sleep is crucial for the brain’s healing process and disruptions may hinder recovery.

Cognitive impairments

Difficulty concentrating and slowed thinking can occur after a brain injury. For example, you may have trouble solving problems or doing things you used to do easily.

Speech and language difficulties

Difficulty finding the right words, slurred speech, or impaired communication can indicate a TBI. These difficulties may persist or appear suddenly after the traumatic event.


Seizures can occur as a result of a TBI. This serious sign requires immediate medical attention.

According to the International Brain Injury Association, 1 million Americans have emergency care for a TBI every year. If you have a head impact in an auto injury or fall, see your doctor even if you do not have symptoms right away.