Tinnitus & TMJ

Scientific studies have shown that people with TMJ disorders are more likely to suffer from tinnitus than the general population.

Our clinical experience confirms these findings: many of our TMJ patients in addition to pain in the face and jaw also report presence of ear symptoms, such as tinnitus, sensation of ears being blocked (or stuffy), ear aches, etc. In such cases, the ear symptoms typically improve or resolve once the jaw pain is successfully treated.

Why does TMJ affect Tinnitus?

  • Two of the tiny bones that make up our present-day hearing system (the malleus and incus) evolved from the primitive jaw bones. These bones retain some of their muscular, fascial and ligamentous connections to the jaw. As the result of that, a dysfunction of the jaw muscles may affect ear function and lead to tinnitus, ear pain, dizziness, or feeling of ear fullness.
  • Lateral pterygoid muscle and the adjacent tensor veli palatini muscle inside the mouth affect opening of the eustachian tube in the ear. These muscles are frequently tight and hypertonic in TMJ patients, causing (or contributing) to ear symptoms.
  • There is some overlap between the nerve supply of the temporomandibular joint and the ears. The nerves that supply TMJ have connections to the parts of the brain that are involved with both hearing and the interpretation of sound.
  • The eardrum is located in close proximity to the temporomandibular joint. Inflammation in the temporomandibular joint can either spread to the eardrum or affect stabilization of the eardrum, causing earaches and / or noise associated with tinnitus.
  • If the lower jaw bone moves backwards, it may compress the ear canal, which can affect the function of the Eustachian tube. The nerves that run from the ear to the brain also may become impinged by displaced jaw bones, muscles or swollen tissues.
  • Some myofascial trigger points located in the muscles commonly involved in the TMJ disorder either refer pain or alter sensation in the ear. The primary face muscles causing ear symptoms are lateral pterygoid and sternocleidomastoid.
  • TMJ is frequently associated with a neck dysfunction. Studies have shown that patients who have neck disorders are more likely to experience tinnitus, therefore presence of both TMJ and neck dysfunction creates a greater risk for tinnitus and other ear symptoms than TMJ alone.

testimonialsMy doctor referred me to Teresa because I felt constant urge to pop my ears and I had tinnitus in one ear. He told me that these problems could be caused by jaw muscles. I was skeptical about the idea that muscles could produce ear symptoms, but I decided to give it a try. Teresa was working not only on my jaw muscles but also on specific neck muscles and over a period of three months my symptoms had improved dramatically. As the result of Teresa’s treatments my ears are no longer blocked and ringing in the ear is reduced to the point that it doesn’t bother me anymore.

-Female, 47

testimonialsI saw many ear doctors for ringing in the ear. The ringing was so annoying that it was difficult to focus on my work. At night ringing was even louder, so I had issues with falling asleep. Everyone was telling me that there was nothing wrong with my ears. Eventually one doctor told me that if I found someone who could massage face muscles, I might be able to get some relief. I am so glad that I found Teresa’s web-site. We started working together and her manual therapy made a huge difference. In addition to working on the muscles I also did hypnosis with her to learn how to stop focusing on the ears all the time and it was very helpful too. I highly recommend this kind of therapy to anyone who suffers from tinnitus.

-Female, 51

testimonialsI suffered from tinnitus for many years. I contacted Teresa because I exhausted all treatment options and I wanted to try hypnosis as the last resort. I found hypnosis very helpful. I am now able to ignore sounds in my ears, so even though tinnitus is still there, it did not bother me anymore. In fact, most of the time I don’t even notice it. Hypnosis also improved my sleep and my ability to manage everyday stresses. Even my wife noticed a positive difference in my mood and overall functioning.

-Male, 38

testimonialsIf you suffer from tinnitus or stuffy ears go to Teresa! She is not only the best clinician I have ever worked with, but also an inspiring, compassionate person.

-Male, 33

testimonialsMy acupuncturist recommended that I see Teresa for treatment of tinnitus. I did not know that there was any treatment for that at all because I saw many doctors and they could not help me. During the first appointment Teresa found that some of my face and neck muscles had tender spots in them and when she was pressing on these spots my ringing in the ears was changing. She showed me pictures illustrating how these muscles could affect ears. I was very impressed with her knowledge, professionalism and excellent bed-side manner, so I decided to pursue treatment. I am very satisfied with the results – the sound in my ear is no longer constant and when it’s there, it’s not as loud as it used to be, so I can actually not pay attention at it.

-Female, 44

testimonialsSleep apnea specialist referred me to Teresa because within a month of using a sleep apnea device / mouth guard I developed jaw pain and ringing in the ear. With Teresa’s superb hands-on treatment both problems had resolved and I was able to wear the sleep apnea device without any adverse effects.

-Male, 56

testimonialsI was referred to Teresa for treatment of TMJ. I never expected that this treatment would also help my tinnitus. I no longer have any jaw pain and ringing in the ear is gone! Thank you, Teresa.

-Female, 34

testimonialsTeresa at New Body – New Mind treated my TMJ, headache and tinnitus and I could have not asked for a more professional and more effective care. I highly recommend Teresa to anyone who suffers from these conditions.

-Male, 46