Stranger Things Subtle Mention Of Tinnitus

By Chrissy Hughes on 24th July 2019

Tinnitus comes in many forms and can be caused by a variety of different things. The most common cause of tinnitus is overexposure to loud noise. Conditions like tinnitus are the reason why your parents tell you to lower the volume of your headphones and to wear ear protection when you are mowing your neighbours’ lawn. The causes of tinnitus are rarely ever discussed, but one that should be talked about more frequently is head or neck injuries or trauma. 

Tinnitus associated with a head or neck injury tends to be more severe than cases with more common causes such as noise exposure, ear infections, hearing loss, and more. Head injuries come in many forms. One of the most typical head injuries is a concussion. Concussions are usually caused by contact of some kind with the head. This can be helmet to helmet contact in a football game, a closed-fist punch to the head, or trauma from a car accident. Tinnitus can arise from injuries like these and is usually only temporary but can also be permanent. 

For anyone who has seen Stranger Things 3, you may remember the part of the show when Steve Harrington is being investigated by the Russian guards. Steve is repeatedly struck in the face and head in order to make him reveal who he is working for. After this, he is locked in a room with Robin and she asks if he is okay. Steve responds with:

My ears are ringing, and I can’t really breathe well, my eye feels like it’s about to pop out of my skull.

The ringing he mentions is most likely temporary tinnitus caused by the many blows to the head he took. 

Although the Stranger Things 3 producers may not have meant to indicate that Steve had temporary tinnitus, it can be used to educate viewers. According to, because tinnitus that arises from a head or neck injury tends to be more severe, these patients are more likely to seek medical attention sooner than other tinnitus patients.

If the ringing in Steve’s ears continued for multiple days or weeks, he would have likely gone to his doctor. In discussing the severity of trauma-related tinnitus, claims,”On average, they seek treatment 2.3 years after the onset of their tinnitus whereas other patients wait 6.9 years”. This is a dramatic difference due to the fact that trauma-related tinnitus patients experienced more effects on their daily lives. 

Stranger Things 3 had many interesting and exciting aspects of the season. One of the most interesting was the fact that tinnitus was mentioned even when it is so rarely talked about in the media. If you have not watched the newest season yet, I would highly recommend you do so. 

One of the main characters, Eleven played by Millie Bobby Brown, actually has hearing loss in real life.

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