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August 31 2010

Do Your Ears Ring? You Need to Know About TMJ and Tinnitus

What’s TMJ?

The TMJ is short for Temporomandibular Joint, or jaw joint. You can find 2 TMJ’s, 1 in front of each ear, where the jaw bone meets the temple. If you place your little finger inside of the ear and open and close your mouth, you are able to feel them moving.  They’re probably the most utilized and the most complex joints within the body simply because they work in unison to help you talk, consume food, sing, shout, and swallow. It is said that each and every time you swallow, you might be putting over 25 lbs of pressure upon your jaw, which makes it relatively easy to comprehend why there is discomfort if the joint malfunctions!

TMJD or temporomandibular joint disorder (also called TMD or just TMJ) is a ailment that involves the jaw joint and jaw muscles, creating head, neck, face, and of course, jaw pain. TMJD ranges from a mild issue that goes away rather quickly with self-care to a severe, chronic, devastating disorder that could cause chronic pain. Some symptoms of TMJ disorder: pain or issues when opening or closing mouth, head pain, popping and/or clicking in the jaw joints, neck/shoulder/back pain, ear pain/fullness, and, of course… tinnitus.

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What is Tinnitus? 

Tinnitus is described as a tone in one ear or two ears, which can include buzzing, whooshing, ringing, or whistling, occurring without an external stimulus. Meaning that the sound the individual is hearing comes from inside the person’s own head and not from outside sources. It could be due to a medical situation, such as TMJ disorder, an ear infection, hearing loss, side effects of specific drugs, a blocked auditory tube or canal, or a head injury.


What is the connection between TMJ & tinnitus?

In the event the jaw isn’t working properly, it can lead to many problems, such as TMJ and tinnitus. It is estimated that roughly half of the sufferers that have TMJ disorder also list tinnitus or ringing in their ears as another one of their symptoms.

Since the ear and jaw share blood flow and nerves… headaches, fatigue, and tension within the jaw muscles have been discovered to be higher in tinnitus patients. TMJ patients with tight muscles within the jaw area could be causing the small muscles within the ear to tighten up, which often can subsequently cause tinnitus.

We understand that TMJ and tinnitus could be incredibly depressing and can make you feel hopeless at times…but don’t worry, there are answers. Visit Tinnitus Sucks! to hear more about how Braeden fought ringing ears and jaw pain and is now feeling much better. You can also submit your story to share with other tinnitus sufferers.