Ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus, is a common and often annoying condition. You may experience it after being exposed to loud noises, such as at a concert or after using a loud power tool. But if you’ve noticed tinnitus at other times, or if it’s bothering you frequently, there may be another reason: your jaw.
What to Know About Tinnitus
Tinnitus is not an illness or disease. Rather, it’s a symptom of another issue that is affecting the nerves in the ears, creating a sound that only the affected person can hear. The sound is often a high pitched “ringing,” but it can also be a hiss, hum, buzz, or other sound.
Tinnitus has many different causes, ranging from hearing loss to high blood pressure to taking certain medications. If you are experiencing tinnitus, discuss the problem with your doctor. You’ll likely need to rule out any medical conditions and may need to get your hearing tested to help narrow down the culprit. Unfortunately, a cause cannot always be found.
The TMJ and Ear Connection
Your jaw joint, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ), is very close to your ears, and so the two can often be connected in unexpected ways. For instance, temporomandibular disorders (TMD) can cause ear pain, and ear infections can aggravate TMD. Similarly, an inflammation or irritation of your TMJ can cause tinnitus that can last weeks or months if the problem isn’t treated.
One of the difficulties with tinnitus is pinpointing the cause. Many people assume it must be something wrong with their ears and don’t even consider that their TMJ could be a factor. This can lead to months or even years of suffering with tinnitus.
Another complicating factor is that people with TMD often get headaches and earaches, and may take ibuprofen or aspirin for relief. Long-term use of these medications at high doses has been connected with tinnitus.
How to Stop Tinnitus Caused by TMD
Treating tinnitus caused by TMD is part of a multi-faceted approach to get the TMD under control. This may include an orthotic appliance, manipulation, stretches, lifestyle changes and more.
TMD can be caused by any number of factors, and sometimes more than one. This may include injury to the jaw, stress, teeth grinding, sleep problems, and much more. To get to the root of the problem and alleviate symptoms like tinnitus, you should schedule a visit with Dr. Auvenshine and Dr. Pettit at our Houston office. We use a comprehensive, whole body approach to get your jaw back into balance. Once your TMD is properly treated and managed, problems like tinnitus, pain, and other bothersome symptoms can be greatly reduced or eliminated.
Do you have tinnitus without a known cause? Are you experiencing other symptoms of TMD? Find out how you can get the treatment you need to manage your condition and live a healthy, active lifestyle. Contact MedCenter TMJ today!