TMJ Tinnitus – How Jaw Muscles Can Impact Tinnitus Perception

Do you ever notice that your tinnitus changes in loudness or pitch when you move your jaw?

This could be TMJ tinnitus.

How about when you clench your jaw?

Manual pressure applied to the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) can enhance or create a subjective auditory perception.  The TMJ is innervated by a branch of the spinal cord and trigeminal nucleus (CN V) alongside the cochlear nucleus. 

Additionally, bruxing (grinding) of the TMJ condyle against its disc can create (or enhance previously existing) subjective tinnitus. This pathway is most likely the cause of enhanced or spontaneous tinnitus with TMJ applied pressure.

Abnormal increase in muscle tension to areas around the middle ear can create objective tinnitus.  Two masticatory muscles, the tensor veli patini and tensor tympani, may present an irregular reflex in the eustachian tube and middle ear space. 

This objective tinnitus may be confirmed through extra-tympanic probe microphone measures that corroborate with the individual’s auditory symptoms.

Truth is, tinnitus can be caused by many factors. TMJ tinnitus may be the only problem you are experiencing. But usually the TMJ is only a part of the tinnitus source. It can also come from auditory / hearing loss factors.

Watch the video below to learn about how a chiropractor counsels his patients about TMJ tinnitus and how to diagnose tinnitus caused by jaw problems.

Dr. Ben Thompson, Au.D.

Dr. Ben Thompson, Au.D.

Dr. Ben Thompson is an audiologist in California and founder of Pure Tinnitus. Dr. Thompson has a comprehensive knowledge of tinnitus management. He completed his residency at University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and is a past board member of the California Academy of Audiology. Via telehealth, Dr. Thompson provides services to patients with hearing loss and tinnitus.

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