Ringing in the ears can vary from unpleasant to seriously detrimental. Because ringing in the ears is a common symptom of more than one condition, people with tinnitus or TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) might have trouble telling which one they actually have.
In moments of silence, all you want to hear is silence. However, many people get the opposite. They might experience a high-pitched ringing, a constant tone, or even a roar. This sound is ongoing and prevents them from focusing or relaxing. This is tinnitus, a condition that causes distracting tones when the person isn’t talking or listening to something.
However, this ringing can also be a symptom of TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder. Because afflictions of the jaw can affect hearing, TMJ can result in tinnitus for some people. In fact, nearly half of those suffering from TMJ report some form of tinnitus.
Tinnitus and TMJ
As mentioned above, tinnitus is characterised as persistent and distracting ringing in the ears. This can be caused by a number of factors, including hearing loss, blockages in the ear canal, and sudden exposure to loud noises. Tinnitus can be temporary, but permanent cases are very common. There are ways to reduce this problem and mask the ringing, and many cases of tinnitus can be avoided with proper aural health.
Meanwhile, TMJ refers to a condition that afflicts the temporomandibular joint. The disk in this joint is responsible for connecting the bones of your jaw, allowing you to speak, chew, and open your mouth. When this joint is damaged, it can cause ringing in the ears, among other symptoms.
Tinnitus can also be a symptom of TMJ, which can lead to confusion between the two conditions. Someone with TMJ might mistake their tinnitus as an independent problem, and neglect to treat their jaw condition. In order to properly diagnose TMJ, one has to know the difference between tinnitus and TMJ.
How to Tell the Difference
Identifying TMJ is easy, especially if you regularly feel pain in your face or jaw. Those with TMJ may also have trouble chewing or opening their mouth, and the joint may lock up or click. This can make it difficult for them to open their mouth past a certain point, and forcing their jaw open might lead to pain. TMJ is common in people with arthritis, or people that have suffered an impact to their face.
Because the temporomandibular joint is so close to the ear, afflictions of this disk might lead to tinnitus. The best way to determine if your tinnitus is caused by TMJ is to consult a dentist for an appropriate examination and diagnosis.
If you think you might have TMJ, it’s best to visit a dentist about this issue. If you treat your TMJ properly, your tinnitus will likely lessen.
If you do not regularly experience jaw pain, it’s unlikely that you are suffering from TMJ. This narrows down your diagnosis to regular tinnitus. If you are suffering from a persistent ringing in your ears, it might be time to get a tinnitus diagnosis. An ENT specialist can give you the advice and care you need.
In order to find an HCP in your area, you might rely on referrals from your family doctor. However, you can also go to an HCP directly for advice and treatment. If you’re not sure where to start, the Signia store locator can help you find reliable hearing care professionals in your area. The interactive map provides directions and information so you can assess your options before scheduling an appointment.