What is tinnitus and how does it relate to TMJ?

TMJ RichmondTinnitus is a condition in which a patient experiences a persistent ringing, hissing or buzzing sound in the ears. Tinnitus can be caused by any number of issues, including high blood pressure or hearing loss. In some patients, this condition may be a result of a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.

If a jaw is not functioning properly, as is the case with a TMJ disorder, muscle imbalances, swelling or inflammation in the jaw can put excess pressure on the eardrum. Tinnitus can then develop as a result.

If you’re experiencing tinnitus along with other TMJ symptoms, such as jaw or facial pain or locking, clicking or popping of the jaw, you can see an oral surgeon for an evaluation, including X-ray imaging for a better view of the jaw. If a diagnosis of TMJ disorder is made, the surgeon can then recommend the most appropriate intervention.

Even though you may see an oral surgeon to get a TMJ diagnosis, it does not necessarily mean that the treatment will be an invasive one. These specialists extensively study the structures that comprise the jaw, so they are uniquely positioned to make such a diagnosis.

If TMJ is determined to be causing or exacerbating your tinnitus, you may get some relief from a conservative treatment such as wearing a mouthguard or splint during sleep.

In some cases of TMJ, a structural defect of the jaw may be at the heart of the condition. If so, a surgical intervention may be needed to correct the defect and resolve the TMJ symptoms. Similarly, if your symptoms don’t respond to non-invasive treatments, surgery may be considered as a next step.

At the least, tinnitus is a mild annoyance. At its worst, the condition can greatly interfere with your quality of life. Regardless of the severity, you don’t have to suffer from this condition if it is a symptom of your TMJ. Effective treatments for the TMJ may be available. Contact us at Commonwealth Oral & Facial Surgery and schedule an evaluation to learn what interventions may help you.

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