If you have asked yourself the question “Why are my ears ringing?” one of the causes could be temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. Ringing, roaring, hissing, clicking, and other sounds in the ear which are otherwise known as tinnitus has many possible causes. This article goes into some detail about one of the possible causes by taking a look at how tinnitus and tmj are connected.
What is TMJ Syndrome?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that enables each one of us to open or close our mouths or move the jaw sideways and connects the jaws to the skull. The upper and lower jaws are connected by five pairs of muscles as well as the TMJ which enable this opening, closing, sideways, backwards and forward movements of the jaws.
When there is an issue in this area that prevails the muscles, bones, joints, etc, from properly functioning together cohesively, it leads to what is known as TMJ syndrome also known as TMJ disorder or TMJ dysfunction. It is estimated that as many as ten million Americans suffer from this condition. Despite this many people suffering from this condition, it frequently goes undiagnosed, misdiagnosed and even untreated causing discomfort and pain including the annoyance of tinnitus.
What Causes TMJ Syndrome?
The joints, muscles, ligaments, etc can become misaligned for various reasons such as;
- Genetical reasons that cause teeth not to fit together in the right manner
- Teeth grinding that is otherwise known as bruxism
- Injuries such as a blow to the jaw, whiplash, etc.
- Bad habits eg cradling a phone between the ear and the shoulder, etc
TMJ and Tinnitus
When there is a misalignment of the temporomandibular joint, one of the symptoms you may experience is clicking or grinding noises any time that you move your jaw. A few people even claim that these clicking and grating noises are heard when there is no jaw movement but this is a rare occurrence.
Tinnitus simply means hearing sounds in your head or ears that have no apparent cause or source when it is clicking, ringing, hissing, buzzing, whooshing, roaring, whistling, etc.
If your tinnitus is caused by a TMJ disorder, this can be fixed by a dentist when he or she corrects the misalignment of this joint which may eliminate the noises.
Do You Have TMJ Syndrome?
The following are a few guidelines to help you determine whether you are suffering from a misalignment of the temporomandibular joint.
- Ringing, hissing, buzzing, etc, in the ears (common symptoms of tinnitus)
- Ears may feel itchy or stuffy
- Pain around or in the ear
- Feeling dizzy
- Jaw muscles feeling tender
- Frequent headaches especially in the morning
- If you are a teeth grinder or if you clench your teeth frequently
- If you have a facial, neck, teeth or shoulder pain
- Clicking, popping or grating sounds when your mouth is opened (another symptom of tinnitus)
- If your jaw muscles feel tender
- Earaches in the absence of an ear infection
- Jaw getting stuck when you open or close your jaw
- Difficulty opening your mouth
- Evidence of teeth wearing down
- Pain or discomfort when chewing, yawning, etc
While the above are only a few symptoms of TMJ syndrome, many other people may experience no symptoms at all.
While seeking help from a professional such as a dentist may fix the problem, there are various other home remedies that may work to alleviate TMJ syndrome. It is best to always start with the home or natural remedies and then progress to seeking professional help if these remedies do not work.
Since TMJ syndrome in many cases goes undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or untreated as previously mentioned, if you want the assistance of a professional, you need to make sure that he or she is the right one. Some of the factors to look at is whether he or she is trained and experienced in treating TMJ dysfunction. You will also want to know how long treatment will last and how much it will cost as well as what the treatment will be. Treatment may involve surgery, special splints for the jaw, orthodontics, orthopedics, etc, in order to permanently align the jaw.
5 Home Remedies for Tinnitus
1. Stress Management
You need to first determine whether you are suffering from chronic stress as this can cause various health problems including TMJ disorder and tinnitus. In many cases, TMJ disorder symptoms usually start showing up when you are under undue stress. Stress is a part of everyday life but you need to implement strategies to prevent normal every day stresses from turning into chronic stress. Learn to relax by exercising, thinking positively, drinking herbal teas, getting a massage, etc.
Use a heating pad or hot water bottle to soothe an aching jaw or neck. Heat is an awesome pain reliever and muscle relaxer.
Pain can also be relieved by using ice packs.
4. Alter Habits
Try to avoid cradling your phone between your neck and shoulders, teeth grinding, teeth clenching, resting your head on your hand, etc, as these can put stress on the joints in the jaw.
5. Jaw Massage
Massage the jaw joint to help relax the muscles.