Dental Health

Is The Link Between Your Stress & Tinnitus Causing TMJ?

Is The Link Between Your Stress & Tinnitus Causing TMJ?

About TMJ and Tinnitus in Central Texas

The Link Between Your Stress, TMJ, and Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a challenging disorder that often results in several psychological effects, such as depression and anxiety which induce a great deal of stress. In contrast, some patients may experience tinnitus as a result of stress, in which case TMJ may be a factor and Austin Oral Surgery is here to explain why. 

Understanding TMJ

TMJ, or temporomandibular joint dysfunction, refers to conditions that impact the jaw joint and the muscles that enable jaw movement. Patients who experience TMJ may experience pain and discomfort, decreased jaw function, or abnormal clicking or popping sounds.

The Inner Ear 

The temporal bone is found within the inner ear, which serves as the “temporo” portion of the temporomandibular joint. Two bones in the ear originated as jaw bones and continue to carry muscle and nerve connections with the jaw.

TMJ and Tinnitus

There is a relationship between tinnitus and TMJ disorders. However, the exact nature of the relationship is still being studied. Research shows that 64-80% of people with TMJ have tinnitus or other symptoms of the ear. People with TMJ are four times more likely to experience tinnitus than those without and people who have both TMJ and headaches are seven times more likely.

Research on TMJ and Tinnitus

Some studies suggest that TMJ disorders may play a role in the development of tinnitus. The temporomandibular joint is in close proximity to the ear, and inflammation or dysfunction can cause referred sensation or pain in the ear, which may include tinnitus.

Jaw Movement Muscles in Relation to TMJ and Tinnitus

The muscles that control jaw movement are directly connected to the middle ear. Studies have suggested that tinnitus may be brought on by spasms or tension in the jaw muscles that impact the function of the middle ear, leading to tinnitus.

Alternative Studies on TMJ and Tinnitus

Other studies suggest that the link between TMJ disorders and tinnitus may be due to a shared underlying mechanism, such as a central nervous system dysfunction. The central nervous system is a contributing factor in both TMJ disorders and tinnitus, which may suggest that a central nervous system dysfunction may bring on both conditions simultaneously.

Jaw Clenching 

If we consider that TMJ and tinnitus are linked, then it is no surprise that with stress comes worsening symptoms. A common symptom of stress is a clenched jaw, and a clenched jaw is a primary trigger that enhances the symptoms of TMJ.

TMJ and Stress

When the jaw is clenched, the jawbone becomes stressed, putting pressure on the teeth and joints in the jaw. Clenching will also result in the tightening of jaw muscles. TMJ can be derived from muscle tension that provokes face and jaw pain is the most common form linked to tinnitus, which demonstrates the connection between TMJ and stress.  

Identifying the Root Cause of Your Tinnitus

If you are wondering whether your tinnitus is linked to TMJ, it’s important to monitor whether your tinnitus is heightened when you are feeling stressed. You may notice several other signs, such as:

  • Pain in your jaw
  • Headaches
  • Wear in your teeth
  • Pain in your neck

TMJ Treatment for Tinnitus

For patients experiencing tinnitus as a result of TMJ, they may find relief through TMJ treatment. Over the last 50 years, studies have shown that 69% of patients have been successful at alleviating the stress caused to the TM joint to reduce or eliminate tinnitus through TMJ treatment.

Alleviating Stress

It’s possible to engage in certain behaviors to reduce your stress levels to keep the symptoms of TMJ and tinnitus at bay. It’s important to engage in calming activities, such as yoga, meditation, or other forms of relaxation to ease stress and avoid the discomforts of TMJ and tinnitus.

Healing TMJ

There are a number of ways to get rid of TMJ disorder, both naturally or with professional intervention. TMJ that is caused by stress or a mild injury may heal on its own. When the TMJ is caused by jaw misalignment it can only be remedied with treatment from a dentist or oral surgeon.

TMJ Treatment

When a patient comes to Austin Oral Surgery for treatment for their TMJ disorder, we aim to eliminate the TMJ without surgery. We will begin by trying various forms of non-invasive treatment, such as muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories, exercises, and changes in diet. However, severe cases may require TMJ surgery as a last-resort measure.

The Importance of Treating TMJ

Not only is TMJ disorder painful and uncomfortable, but it can also develop into more complex symptoms that affect your health and everyday life. TMJ can result in loss of sleep and an inability to perform normal functions, which in turn can lead to depression, insomnia, sleep apnea, and other negative outcomes.

Professional Guidance for TMJ and Tinnitus

Not every case of tinnitus is related to TMJ disorders, and not every case of TMJ disorders will cause tinnitus. However, if you are navigating both of these conditions, it’s imperative to see a healthcare professional to determine the cause of your symptoms and to develop an effective treatment plan.

Speak With a Professional About Your TMJ Today

If you’ve been experiencing symptoms of TMJ due to stress, or symptoms of tinnitus that you believe may be linked to TMJ, Austin Oral Surgery is here to help you. Contact our friendly professionals today to schedule a consultation with our oral surgeons to discover how we can provide you with relief.