Tinnitus is often called a ringing in the ears, but it can be many types of sounds, including buzzing, roaring, and sometimes even music. Most often, this sound is audible only to you, which may make you think you’re crazy. But you’re not crazy—tinnitus affects up to 1 in 5 people. For some people, the cause is mysterious, but it seems that for many people TMJ may be the cause, and TMJ treatment has been shown to reduce tinnitus.
If you are looking for relief from your tinnitus, we can help. Please call 509-532-1111 (Spokane) or 509-927-2273 (Spokane Valley) or email Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics today to schedule an appointment at our Spokane or Spokane Valley office.
Tinnitus comes from the Latin for “to ring like a bell,” which is why it is commonly known as ringing in the ears. However, the sounds of tinnitus are highly variable. Depending on the sufferer, a person may hear buzzing, dial tones, crickets, screeching, roaring, or more.
Because the sound is usually created in the nerves and the brain it is not correlated with any actual sound waves, and can take any form imaginable, and can be of any volume, from a very low whisper to a deafening roar.
How TMJ Causes Tinnitus
Because tinnitus is still not completely understood, we’re not sure about the mechanism that connects TMJ and tinnitus. However, it seems that the cause might be related to the way that TMJ irritates and inflames the cochlear nerves that carry messages from your ears to your brain.
These nerves don’t go directly into your head, they travel downward and toward your spine, where they enter the spinal column and reach your brain that way. In their path, they run by your temporomandibular joints, where they can be irritated by the disordered movement.
Some nerves would transmit this irritation as pain, but because the cochlear nerves normally carry sound, the stimulus is often interpreted by your brain as sound. You are literally hearing your pain.
Studies have shown that nearly 80% of TMJ sufferers have tinnitus or related symptoms like earache, dizziness, and vertigo.
TMJ Treatment Improves Tinnitus
Studies have shown that people with tinnitus experience significant improvement after TMJ treatment. It seems that TMJ treatment improves tinnitus for more than 80% of sufferers. For related symptoms, treatment may be even more successful, with 100% of vertigo patients seeing improvement with TMJ treatment in one study.
Other Causes of Tinnitus
During your consultation, we will talk to you about other possible causes of your tinnitus to determine whether TMJ might not be the cause of the sounds you hear. These other causes include:
- Ear injury
- Exposure to loud noises
- Wax build-up
- Certain disorders, including hypo- or hyperthyroidism
Tinnitus can be disruptive, and you don’t have to live with it any more. Please contact Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics today to schedule an appointment at our Spokane or Spokane Valley office.