Tinnitus is a disorder that impacts millions of Americans, which results in perceived hearing of ringing or humming noises. This disorder usually links to a myriad of other issues, including temporomandibular joint disorder. Tinnitus and TMD impact people differently. So it helps to know associated symptoms and treatment options.

At Raman Center for TMJ & Sleep, we work closely with patients around the United States, helping them develop treatment plans that work best for their needs. We understand that TMD and its related disorders can cause a lot of stress and fatigue, which are inconvenient to deal with, especially for people juggling many life commitments. To best help our patients, we’ve created a quick guide to answer some common inquiries.

What is Tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a disorder characterized by a person hearing ringing or buzzing sounds. Some patients report roaring or hissing noises, as well. This disorder is characterized by a soft or loud ringing lasting several seconds to several hours.

Around 25 million Americans have reported symptoms of tinnitus, which shows that this disorder is relatively common. While it is a common disorder, many patients do not know where it stems from and why it occurs. They are often told that it is due to nerve damage and so will not resolve. But is that true?

Here are just a few of the symptoms associated with tinnitus:

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Concentration issues
  • Memory problems
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Irritability
  • And more

What is TMD?

TMD, or temporomandibular dysfunction, describes poor function of the jaw. The part of the jaw most impacted by TMD, commonly known as the temporomandibular joint or TMJ, plays a vital role in our body’s chewing and swallowing functions. The TMJ is also indirectly responsible for a myriad of other functions.

TMD occurs when the lower jaw – mandible – is poorly aligned with the upper jaw – maxilla which is part of the skull. This necessitates the jaw muscles to over-work to bring the teeth together to be able to chew and function. These muscles often become fatigued and painful. This can also add stress to the jaw joint “TMJ” itself resulting in tearing, or stretching of the ligaments holding the disc in place. This results in clicking or locking of the T M Joint resulting in pain and general discomfort. The dysfunction of the TMJ can also cause other issues across the body. Since the TMJ exists near nerves and joints, issues in the jaw can quickly impact other body areas.

How Does TMD Cause Tinnitus?

There are several ways that Tinnitus can result from TMD. The same Trigeminal nerve that controls the jaw muscles also innervates the tiny muscles that control the eardrum tightness called Tensor Tympani. So an overactive jaw nerve compensating for poor jaw alignment can result in this tiny muscle also being overactive, increasing the eardrum tightness resulting in perception of ringing or hissing.

The back part of the disc within the TMJ is attached to a tiny ligament called Pinto’s ligament or discomalleolar ligament. This ligament travels through a tiny gap in the back of the TMJ socket – Petro tympanic fissure – to attach to the malleus. When a disc is out of place adding tension on this ligament is another source of tinnitus.

The third way is a referred symptom similar to a trigger point pain. In this case, the temporal tendon that attaches the temporalis muscle to the mandible can be inflamed from overactivity of this muscle if the mandible is poorly aligned. Such an inflamed temporal tendon is known to refer to the ear with tinnitus.

If you are experiencing the impacts of TMD and need an individualized treatment plan, Dr. Raman’s office can gladly assist you. We work closely with patients struggling with TMD and its associated symptoms. We would be happy to help develop a treatment plan that helps you alleviate these symptoms.

Find Tinnitus Treatment in Kansas City

If you’re interested in finding out more or would like a consultation on whether you will be a good candidate for treatment, call our offices at (816) 436-4422, where Dr. Raman and our team are here to help!

Physiologic Neuromuscular dentistry and TMD treatment may be the missing pieces to improving all kinds of issues you may be facing, from sleep apnea, poor posture to aches and pains, to reclaim your quality of life back. Give us a call today.

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