Tinnitus can be a very bad diagnosis for many people. If you are diagnosed with tinnitus, you might also be told that there’s no treatment. Many people experience tinnitus that worsens over time, to the point that some tinnitus sufferers commit suicide.
But not all types of tinnitus are untreatable. In fact, if your tinnitus is related to TMJ, then TMJ treatment can often eliminate the sounds in your ears as well as other related symptoms. Tinnitus is common in people with TMJ but how do you know if TMJ is responsible for your tinnitus? Only a comprehensive exam can say for sure, but here are some signs that you should get a TMJ exam. This is important, because, unlike many other forms of tinnitus, we can cure TMJ-related tinnitus.
No Other Cause
You first have to ask whether there are other potential causes for your tinnitus, such as exposure to very loud noises. Consider both recreational and professional exposures. There are also some medical conditions that might be causing your tinnitus. Hopefully, your doctor has eliminated those possibilities.
Once you’ve eliminated other causes of tinnitus, you need to consider that TMJ might be the cause.
Your Tinnitus Is Severe and Disabling
Recent research suggests that if you have more severe tinnitus, it’s more likely to be linked to TMJ. In this study, people with TMJ reported tinnitus that was about 12% louder, 33% more likely to be annoying, and 47% more handicapping. People with TMJ and tinnitus also had a significantly lower quality of life than those with tinnitus alone.
Moving Your Jaw Alters the Sounds
Studies have shown that tinnitus is more likely to be related to TMJ if it changes when you move your jaw. If you are experiencing TMJ, try modulating it by moving your jaw. Common changes are changes in pitch or volume.
There are many potential links between TMJ and tinnitus. It could be related to jaw muscles that also attach to your ear. The jaw could be putting pressure on nerves that carry signals from the ear to the brain. It could be related to pressure on the temporal bone, which houses the inner ear. But in all these cases, moving the jaw affects the configuration and therefore can alter tinnitus.
Tinnitus Appears after Intense Jaw Activity
Jaw activity can be a strong trigger for TMJ-related tinnitus. If you have been working your jaw hard, such as doing public speaking, eating a meal that’s hard to chew, or clenching your jaw due to stress, it can often trigger your TMJ, and therefore your tinnitus.
If you notice tinnitus mostly flares up during or after these times of intense jaw activity, you could easily have TMJ-related tinnitus.
A Treatable Form of Tinnitus
As we noted above, many tinnitus sufferers are told that there’s just no cure for tinnitus. But that’s not true for TMJ-related tinnitus, and we know because we’ve helped many of our patients get relief from tinnitus, such as Isabella, who had been told that her tinnitus was untreatable. But in just four months, Isabella experienced a cure for her tinnitus, as well as her migraines.