Hearing loss is a common issue, affecting millions of people of various ages. And though many causes of hearing loss are due to aging of the mechanics of the ear or exposure to excessive noise, these cannot explain all cases of hearing loss. In fact, another surprising and often overlooked cause could also be at work: your temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
Symptoms of TMJ-Related Hearing Loss
It’s no secret that the TMJ is closely related to the ear and can cause problems with this delicate, complex organ. People who suffer from temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) may struggle for months or even years with earaches. They may see an ear specialist who tells them their ear looks healthy, and they may blame it on allergies or simply go on living with it without an explanation.
But earaches, although often painful, are only part of the problem. Many TMD patients find that ringing of the ears (tinnitus) and hearing loss can strike as a result of TMJ problems, and it can be difficult to get a diagnosis for the ongoing hearing issues. Some people may even be told they need hearing aids when it’s really a jaw problem at work.
In addition, because the ears play a crucial role in the body’s equilibrium system, many people with TMD experience balance or dizziness issues as well.
How TMJ Affects the Ears
Irritation of the jaw joint can transfer to the ear simply due to location. The TMJ is located adjacent to the ear, so swelling and inflammation of the jaw joint often has a direct effect on the ears.
This inflammation can also cause blocked eustachian tubes, which results in a plugged or painful feeling in the ear and difficulty hearing. If the fluid in these tubes cannot drain normally, hearing is almost always affected.
The nerves in and around the ears may also be picking up on these pain and inflammatory signals from the TMJ, resulting in changes to hearing.
How to Correct TMJ-Related Hearing Issues
Hearing is a complex process, and many factors could be at play in hearing loss. If you experience other symptoms of TMD such as jaw pain, popping, headaches, neck stiffness, or trouble opening your mouth wide, call MedCenter TMJ for a comprehensive evaluation. Often times when the TMD is corrected, problems like ringing in the ears and trouble hearing can be resolved.
If you can’t hear properly, you could be missing out on life. Contact MedCenter TMJ to discuss your TMD symptoms and get on the road to healing today!