Tinnitus and TMD
General Dentist and Cosmetic Dental Services in Edmonton, Alberta
Posted: September 13, 2012
Tinnitus is also known as a ringing in the ears, but the actual sound sufferers hear ranges from a buzz to a roar. The sound can be steady or variable, and the experience of tinnitus can be disabling. Some people suffer complete hearing loss.TMD, temporomandibular dysfunction, is closely associated with tinnitus. The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull and is very close to the ears and many of the internal structures associated with hearing are intertwined with the bones and muscles of the jaw. Sometimes the Eustachian tubes, which regulate air pressure in the ears, can be affected when the temporomandibular joints are out of balance. Other times, there may be pressure directly on the cochlear nerve, which carries signals from the ear to the brain. As it passes through the temporal bone, it is very near the temporomandibular joint and therefore vulnerable to TMD disturbances.
We don’t know just how many tinnitus sufferers are also TMD sufferers, but one study suggested that a third of tinnitus sufferers said that the movement of their jawbone affected the severity of their tinnitus, while one recent study suggested that about 78% of TMD sufferers also suffered tinnitus and other subjective hearing phenomena. We do know that TMD treatment seems to help tinnitus sufferers considerably. Studies show that when tinnitus sufferers undergo treatment for TMD, their tinnitus improves. The fraction of sufferers who saw improvement ranges from 50% in a 1987 study to 83% in a 2008 study.
If you are suffering from tinnitus, TMD may be the cause. To learn more about TMD treatment and whether it might be able to help you, please contact Dr. Christine Fialka-Eshenko at Focus on Smiles in Edmonton, Alberta for a consultation.