Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Ringing in the Ears - Could It Be TMJ?

Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) is a common affliction in many people, but since it is a symptom and not a disease it can be tricky to find it's source.  It could be caused by medications, long term exposure to loud noises, high blood pressure, even sinus infections.  It can be mild or severe, even debilitating to some, causing sleep disorders and a disruption of your daily life. One or both ears can be affected and some degree of hearing loss is generally present.

If your doctor has ruled out all of the above causes, consider seeing your dentist to check for TMJ problems.  The jawbone is a load bearing joint, and might I add,  one of the most important in the body.  If you notice popping sensations when you chew or that you are having difficulty opening your mouth, have soreness in the mornings, headaches and aching of the jaw throughout the day, ask to be screened for this disorder. Although TMJ isn't the most common cause, it may turn out to be the root cause of your tinnitus.

There is no cure for tinnitus, but the symptoms can be treated.  Hearing aids can be effective for those with severe hearing loss.  Tiny sound generators that fit behind or inside the earlobe can be helpful by providing a distracting sound (aka white noise) that masks the noise and minimizes it's severity.  Additionally, doctors have prescribed anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications with some success.  There is no reason to suffer anymore!  Contact your dentist and get screened for TMJ.

Keep Smiling!

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