One of the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is tinnitus. TMJ can cause tinnitus because the three small bones that make up your inner ear are housed behind your jaw joint. Tension and pressure created by TMJ can cause muscle spasms that create ringing and buzzing in your ear. There are a number of other conditions that can cause tinnitus, so it is important to have your tinnitus assessed by an experienced professional with before you assume your auditory condition is related to your jaw pain.
The most common form of tinnitus is called subjective tinnitus. Subjective tinnitus is when you hear sounds that nobody else can hear. These sounds may disrupt your concentration and leave you feeling isolated. It’s important to remember that just because no one else can hear them it doesn’t mean that they’re not real. It just means that they’re being caused by mechanisms that can’t be observed by other people.
Tinnitus has also been linked with memory problems, sleep disturbance, depression, and anxiety. Subjective tinnitus is also the type of tinnitus that TMJ can cause, so treating your TMJ could reduce your tinnitus symptoms. If you do not experience a decrease in ear ringing with TMJ treatment, you should consider seeing a physician to check for other possible causes.
Tinnitus can be a warning sign of more severe conditions. Vascular disorders, diabetes, and head or neck aneurysms have also been known to cause tinnitus. Certain medications such as antidepressants and anti-inflammatories may also cause tinnitus, so it is important to communicate with your neuromuscular dentist and physician about your medications and other medical conditions during your treatment.
Less than 1% of tinnitus cases are objective tinnitus. This type of tinnitus causes an audible clicking, throbbing, or other noises that medical professionals will be able to hear. Objective tinnitus may be caused by irregularities of the inner ear or increased blood flow in the ear. In some cases, objective tinnitus may be indicative of more life-threatening conditions like hypertension or carotid artery aneurysm. TMJ does not cause this condition, but you could develop objective tinnitus independently of your TMJ with a coinciding timeframe.
Reducing Tinnitus Symptoms with TMJ Treatment
Dr. Berry has training and effective diagnostic treatment to assess whether or not the likely cause of your tinnitus is TMJ. If you experience subjective tinnitus caused by TMJ, there are several treatment options available to you. Your jaw will be examined by Dr. Berry and may be assessed using an iCAT Cone Beam Imaging system to determine the best course of action for your treatment.
A custom neuromuscular appliance (also known as a bite splint) may be designed to help realign your jaw and prevent nighttime bruxism (tooth grinding) that can often cause TMJ. For more long-term solutions, neuromuscular orthodontics may be used to move any teeth that may be causing you to have a bad bite.
If you would like to learn more about how TMJ treatment can help reduce your tinnitus symptoms caused by TMJ, please call (303) 691-0267 for an appointment with a Denver neuromuscular dentist at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado.