23 Nov How does TMJ affect tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition in which patients are bothered by ringing, buzzing, hissing or other sounds in the ears. Pain in the ears may also occur with tinnitus. Although tinnitus is not one of the hallmarks of a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder like jaw pain or popping or clicking noises in the jaw, it can be a symptom of this condition.
TMJ and tinnitus likely are connected due to the proximity of the eardrum and the jaw. The discomfort associated with TMJ is caused by inflammation in one of the jaw’s many components that is not working properly. Consequently, that inflammation can also affect the eardrum and cause tinnitus and ear pain.
Patients who are experiencing tinnitus in addition to other symptoms of TMJ should consult with an oral surgeon to determine whether the condition might be at fault for the patient’s issues. This specialist has extensive knowledge of the various structures that compose the jaw and can pinpoint any problems that are contributing to TMJ. Keep in mind that tinnitus can be caused by a number of other physiological issues, so it’s important to get the correct diagnosis in order to reduce or eliminate the sound-related symptoms.
When a patient is diagnosed with TMJ, the oral surgeon can also recommend an appropriate treatment, and the initial approaches are likely to be conservative. Many patients find that their symptoms resolve with medications, physical therapy or splints or mouth guards.
Patients who do not respond to these non-invasive interventions may be candidates for surgical procedures designed to correct structural abnormalities that are causing the TMJ disorder. For example, misaligned jaws or a damaged disk in the jaw may necessitate surgery to reduce the inflammation associated with TMJ pain and other symptoms.
If you’re suffering from tinnitus and a TMJ disorder is the cause of your symptom, treating the underlying condition can bring relief from ringing in your ears.
Call our office to set up an initial evaluation and to learn more about your treatment options.