Low Pitch Ringing/Hum Went Away After Using a Mouth Guard and Regular Jaw Massage

Discussion in 'Success Stories' started by GDK, Sep 15, 2021.

    1. GDK

      GDK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      20120
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      TMJ. Grinding teeth
      Hello everyone!

      I felt the need to share my story, which is similar to so many that I’ve read.

      Symptoms:
      • Low pitch ringing or hum around 80 Hz in my right ear.
      • It would come and go but could last for months at a time 24/7.
      • It felt like a vibration or rumbling engine in the distance.
      • It was very distressing and stressful.
      • Low frequency sounds would mask it.
      • If I put my finger in my ear it seemed to go away.
      • Earplugs not so effective.
      • Mine was somatic. Could make it louder or less loud by moving my head/neck or jaw certain ways.
      • I noticed it would sometimes settle down at night. Sometimes I’d wake up at 3:00 am and it would be gone. It was so great I couldn’t get back to sleep. I would enjoy the silence. As soon as I woke up in the morning and stood up it would reappear faintly, but then get worse as the day progressed. I couldn’t hear it at work or outside usually, but at home in the quiet it would be maddening.
      I explored many causes.

      At first I thought it may be ETD. I went on corticosteroids, but they didn’t help. Maybe made it worse.

      I had a hearing test. Some high frequency loss, but that would be expected at my age of early 50s. No detectable low pitch frequency loss.

      I went to physiotherapy as I suspected tension and stress in my neck maybe a cause. Nope.

      I went to an ENT, who said basically I had to live with it. I suggested an MRI. At first he dismissed the idea but then said what the heck, let’s rule out something serious. The MRI did not discover anything serious.

      I thought maybe it was Meniere’s disease and cut down on salt. Drank a ton of water. No effect.

      I suspected food allergies but got tested and that wasn’t it.

      Finally I went to the dentist to see if I was clenching my jaw and grinding my teeth.
      He said I was clearly grinding and subconsciously clenching throughout the day. He said my jaw movement to the right was limited even though I didn’t notice. My low pitch ringing was on the right.

      He suggested a professional mouth guard for nights, and to regularly massage my jaw muscles.

      I had the guard made and wear it every night. I massage my jaw muscles with my hand while driving or whenever I think about it.

      I haven’t heard the hum in 3 weeks and fundamentally believe it’s jaw related.

      The dentist said the muscles in the jaw can sometimes clench and irritate nerves close to the ear.

      I am telling you, go see your dentist. My life is back to normal, and the silence is wonderful. I was a nervous wreck thinking I’d have to live like this for the rest of my life. Funny enough, I have a science background and yet the last thing I suspected was actually the cause.
       
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    2. Matchbox
      Wishful

      Matchbox Member

      Location:
      BC Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced, Prednisone (drones), Barotrauma (distortions)
      I'd call this a success story.
       
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    3. Damocles
      Spooky

      Damocles Member Benefactor

      Location:
      England
      Tinnitus Since:
      2009
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Ear Infection
      Seeing as he doesn't develop tinnitus for just over another 18 Millenia from now, I'm going to have to disagree.
       
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    4. Ben Winders
      Pensive

      Ben Winders Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic
      Awesome to hear you got your silence back.

      Only 'flaw' in your story was the fact that audiograms don't test such low frequencies. So in my case I sincerely believe I have a dip at the low frequency that my hum is at, but there is just no way to test for it.

      But again - this shouldn't be of your concern anymore since you are basically cured.
       
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    5. CykoJon

      CykoJon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hi. I've got two questions for you.

      First, did the hum stop when you were hearing other sounds then start again when silence hit?

      And secondly, did you have any ear pressure or pain in your affected ear?

      Your symptoms are really similar to mine and seeing that maybe you found a solution to the problem is giving me a lot of hope. Keep us updated. Thanks.
       
    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GDK

      GDK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      20120
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      TMJ. Grinding teeth
      Hi Ben,

      Actually your story was literally the closest to mine. I’ve experienced all that you have. I’ve read your posts.

      I agree that the audiograms don’t show any low pitch loss because they only go down to 200 Hz, usually. However, I tested those frequencies online with headphones, and didn’t find a noticeable difference in how well I could hear 80 -100 Hz. Not scientific, but something.

      I remember you posting how you moved your chin down one day in bed, and it disappeared. I totally experienced that.

      Here’s the thing, and I said this to my doctors, if my low pitch hum was due to hearing loss at that frequency, then moving my jaw or head would not improve it. Moving your head or jaw cannot improve permanent nerve damage. So to me, it had to be something physical.

      I can tell you I didn’t really think it was my jaw. Like you, I explored every other thing.

      Even the stories you told about sleeping on one side would aggravate it. I experienced that too. Once I determined it was jaw related, I could explain that phenomenon. Basically, when you lie on your side, your jaw is pulled down towards the bed by gravity. So maybe when you sleep on your bad side, that is happening, and it aggravates that nerve. When you sleep on the other side, and it goes away, your jaw gets pulled the other way.

      Once I became aware of my constant clenching during the day I was pretty amazed that I was always doing it subconsciously. The dentist confirmed it also happens at night.

      I’m not kidding when I say mine was exactly like yours. :)

      Do your front teeth feel rough on the tops? Meaning the part that would first bite into an apple? Mine are, and that was another clue.

      Have you been to a dentist and checked for grinding?
       
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    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GDK

      GDK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      20120
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      TMJ. Grinding teeth
      Yes. But I don’t believe it stopped. I just couldn’t hear it. For example, when sitting in my house, in quiet, the room would be say 30 dB. I could hear the hum. When the fridge kicked in, the room would jump to 42 dB. So that sound was a bit more vibration than the hum being created by an irritated nerve.

      I downloaded several decibel apps to track how loud my hum was. On a bad day, it would take 60 dB of noise to overpower it. On a good day it would be around 35 dB to overpower it.

      Now, in the middle of the night, when it is 26 dB in my room, which is extremely quiet, I cannot hear it at all.

      I did have ear pressure and pain. But again, if those muscles and tendons near your jaw joint get inflamed, they can irritate the nerve, and I think inflammation can also happen. Hence the pain and pressure.
       
    8. Kriszti

      Kriszti Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016/2017/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I'm happy that you hear silence, I have basically the exact same symptoms as you, only that I don't remember mine being somatic.

      You said in your post that your loud hum - as mine - comes and goes, but it can be 24/7 for months. Do you mean that since onset you never had 3 weeks when you were not hearing the low hum at all?

      I'm just asking because mine is the recurring type. It goes on for a couple of weeks, then goes into remission for about a year. This already happened every year since 2016 (in 2018 I was hum-free), in 2020 it lasted for half a year, but I had days off. My worst fear that it will become constant, I don't think that I'd be able to handle that. Mine is currently silent or maybe just too quiet for being aware of it, but last year it came back 16.09, so I'm getting more and more nervous.

      I suspect middle ear related issues, atypical MEM, pressure problems. I don't quite see, how would jaw problems be responsible for a sound which can be stopped by covering the ears. Mine also stops for seconds when I cover my opposite ear.

      I went to the dentist, but not an expert in TMJ, and he said that my jaw is fine.
       
    9. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GDK

      GDK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      20120
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      TMJ. Grinding teeth
      Hi

      Well I suppose mine could be in remission, but the question is what’s causing the remission? If it’s jaw massage, managing stress, and a mouth guard, then I’ll take it, as that’s a small price to pay. In other words, I do believe mine would come back if I don’t manage my stress, keep my jaw muscles relaxed, and wear the guard. So, it’s not that it’s cured. I’m treating it.

      Looking back I believe mine would occur during stressful periods of the year. I was clenching a lot and grinding. After awhile, it is irritating to the tissue and nerves, it triggers the hum. Perhaps they are spasms. Who really knows. But if we can reduce the cause, that’s awesome. The dentist told me the mouthguard does not stop clenching completely, but rather reduces friction when grinding. He said that might reduce the stress on my tissue and nerves near my ear to stop the sound.

      One other thing. I was constantly looking for a connection to the hum. This is the first time I seem to have found something I can do to make it go away. As soon as I got the guard, and massaged my jaw lots during the day, I immediately noticed a decrease. Within a few days it was gone.

      I had the same as you where if I covered either ear, it would go away. Again, I don’t believe it was going away, but rather covering my ears was masking it.

      To illustrate, let’s say I was hearing 40db of hum. When people cover their ears, or plug them, they are actually creating some audible vibration, perhaps 45db of sound. That created vibration is just overpowering the 40 db hum, not stopping it. I know it seems like it disappeared, but the created sound is just louder.

      I’m not saying this will solve everyone’s hum. But so many people had exactly the same symptoms as me, I thought I’d share the connection I finally discovered.

      In your case, as in mine, there may be periods where you clench because you are more stressed. My dentist said clenching can cause migraines in some, and tinnitus in others. The tension in the jaw inflames the tissue and nerve, triggering the sound.

      Perhaps you go buy a $30 generic mouthguard if your hum returns, and massage the muscles that flex when you clench. Maybe it’ll help. :)
       
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    10. Ben Winders
      Pensive

      Ben Winders Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic
      I still think mine is damage, caused by an acoustic incident (fan noise from in-ear headphones during a couple of nights trying to get some sleep in a busy city). First time I heard my hum was right after I did that.

      15 months since onset I still have daily fleeting tinnitus episodes as well and I have sporadic muscle spasms in my bad ear (MEM like symptoms) and my shrieking tinnitus sometimes gets very loud during the night (with no external trigger as my room is totally silent).

      I DO clench (I don't think I grind, according to my girlfriend), but I'm pretty sure the clenching is not the root cause of my humming tinnitus.

      If only there was a way to find out if there is actual inflammation (due to clenching/grinding) or is there some some sort of MRI-like imagine technique that shows inflammation?
       
    11. Kriszti

      Kriszti Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      2016/2017/2019
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      I don't think so. I have normal, high frequency tinnitus which gets significantly louder with covering my ears and plugging it with my finger. So if this was masking, it should be at a certain masking frequency and bigger volume than the hum, yet unable to mask my other types of tinnitus sounds. Seems unlikely.

      But you are right, we may have different root causes and also for 5 year I haven't been able to figure out the cause or pattern despite constant efforts of doing so, so next time when it comes back (I'm pretty sure it will :(), I will pay attention to the jaw. I think mine is mainly originated in my middle ear, but the exact cause or the triggers are still unsolved.

      Fingers crossed, yours stay away, I know how challenging the low vibrating sound is and it's good to hear success stories.
       
    12. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GDK

      GDK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      20120
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      TMJ. Grinding teeth
      Hi.

      If you have nerve damage, wouldn’t your hum be constant, and never go away?

      Maybe buy some disposable mouth guards and wear them at night and the day for a couple weeks. In the day, just wear it when you can.

      Also, massage those muscles that flex when you clench. Not sure what they are called. You can feel them flex with your hand when you clench.
       
    13. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GDK

      GDK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      20120
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      TMJ. Grinding teeth
      Here’s my theory as to the mechanism in which the hum could be caused.

      We know our body has a baseline hum. When normally put our hand over our ears, or plug our ears with our fingers, we can hear a low pitch sound. That is normal. We are creating vibration that our ears detects.

      When our joint, muscles and tissue next to our auditory system gets inflamed, something could be getting pressed up against our auditory system, allowing us to hear that vibration. Similar to what happens when we plug our ears with a finger etc.

      This would explain why we hear a hum, and not high pitch frequencies.

      I understand many people also have high pitched tinnitus. That is different. But the low pitch one is 10x more annoying.
       
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    14. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GDK

      GDK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      20120
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      TMJ. Grinding teeth
      Covering your ears, or plugging them, will only mask low frequency tinnitus because the sound created by these actions are low frequency in nature.

      That’s why a subtle fridge hum will mask the sound, but a much louder high pitch sound won’t.
       
    15. CykoJon

      CykoJon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Did your hum last for the entire day or did you have periods of silence during the day? I'm at my fourth month into this and most of the time, I can only hear it in completely silent rooms. The first month the hum was way louder and frequent. Now, the vibrating hum rarely occurs... like once or twice a week mostly when waking up. It goes away after a hot shower.
       
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    16. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GDK

      GDK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      20120
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      TMJ. Grinding teeth
      I had every iteration possible.

      There were days where it would be humming all day and night with no silence unless I turned on a fan or something.

      There were days where it would exist all day, but then go away at night. Also, sometimes it would be quiet in the day and then appear at night.

      There were times when it lasted 24/7 for maybe 2 months. It was brutal.

      There were days where it was barely noticeable, and it would stay like that for a week before getting loud again.

      I think, looking back, the times it was the worst were times when I was most stressed and clenching/grinding.

      The actual hum itself contributes to stress. So, if things are stressful at work, and you have a busy personal life, the hum just adds to the stress, thereby making the hum worse.

      Tough cycle to break.
       
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    17. CykoJon

      CykoJon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Sounds rough. How did you deal with the anxiety or stress that came with it? Also, how long has it been since your onset?
       
    18. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GDK

      GDK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      20120
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      TMJ. Grinding teeth
      It started a year ago. During a stressful time at work.

      When I was at work, or outside it wasn’t that noticeable though. I measured the ambient background noise at my work and it was around 50 dB, and that would mask it. The air ventilation system would produce enough low ambient background noise to mask it.

      The drive home was silent too, since the car engine would mask it.

      But as soon as I turned off the car in my garage, I could instantly hear and feel the hum in my ear. It was hell.

      it got to the point I dreaded coming home because my house and street were quiet enough that I could hear it.

      Eventually, when I couldn’t take it anymore, I had fans going in the house during the evening, to create enough background noise to mask it. It sucked, but was better than the hum.

      In the winter, the furnace would often mask it, so I’d be in heaven while the furnace was on, but as soon as it turned off, I could hear it.

      To sleep, I found that if I put in my Sony In-ear headphone, it would partially mask the noise. No music though. This was similar to putting a finger in my ear, but not as effective.

      if it was really bad, I’d bring a fan into my room and run it all night.

      On days, or parts of days when it was gone, I’d just enjoy it.

      I like my job, but I really loved going to work because I could forget about for about 8 hours.
       
    19. Matchbox
      Wishful

      Matchbox Member

      Location:
      BC Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      August 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Induced, Prednisone (drones), Barotrauma (distortions)
      How quickly did jaw massages make a difference?
       
    20. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GDK

      GDK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      20120
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      TMJ. Grinding teeth
      Once the dentist confirmed I was clenching and grinding, it took a week to get the professional teeth guard made.

      I went and bought a generic one from the drug store that day, and began wearing it at night, and the day when I could.

      I focussed on relaxing my jaw muscles and massaging them too.

      I started noticing an improvement that week and by the time I got the professional guard it was probably half as loud.

      then over the next week it completely disappeared.

      I don’t think massage alone would have done it. It was the guard and constantly focussing on relaxing my jaw. Clenching is a habit. I think massage helps though.

      It’s the masseter muscle that I focus on.
       
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    21. Joubles
      Asleep

      Joubles Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      April 2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Vaccine, ear buds, stress, loud concert, TMJ, allergies
      I had a professional mouth guard made. It was uncomfortable to sleep in. I'm going to try some generic ones from Walmart. I will try massage too. I thought it was my back molar tooth that has a relatively new crown.

      I'm praying and asking the creator to show me how I should proceed. I'm also under stress; maybe that's the cause.
      I'm praying for direction healing and a quick answer to all of our prayers on this forum.
       
    22. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GDK

      GDK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      20120
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      TMJ. Grinding teeth
      My dentist also told me to apply heat to my jaw muscles. He told me to use a microwave safe bag full of rice heated in the microwave for a few seconds. Be careful not to heat it too much though.

      I found heat helped.

      It’s been over a month with silence. I’d try the professional mouthguard again though. Probably better than the generic ones.
       
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    23. Benjaminbb

      Benjaminbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      November 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown - possibly debrox - noticed after debroxing.
      There often isn’t a pattern, being superstitious creatures we look for causes and explanation but onset of tinnitus often has no clear correlation. All we can do is enjoy when it’s gone and not worry when it’s there (as it will go again). Don’t worry about the worst case scenario unless it happens :)
       
    24. Benjaminbb

      Benjaminbb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      November 2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown - possibly debrox - noticed after debroxing.
      Hey @GDK! Amazing. Another person here with the same symptoms. Seems the low hummer all have similar variations that don’t exist with higher pitch tinnitus - which does suggest a potentially different cause.

      I think @Kriszti was asking if you often have it come and go? And if so, why this wouldn’t simply be another episode of tinnitus remission.

      Was it consistent for a long time before you started this treatment?
       
    25. CykoJon

      CykoJon Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Did your hum reduce or go away after taking a hot shower? Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, mostly on Mondays, the low hum is much louder than usual. Then I take a hot shower and the hum gets reduced significantly or even goes away for multiple days. This is why it baffles me so much, I'm trying to understand my tinnitus' behaviour. I've tried a generic mouthpiece but it doesn't seem to do much for now.

      Also, congrats for your success! Hope your problem is solved.
       
    26. twa
      Busy

      twa Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      2017- mild /Sept. 2020-moderate
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      meds/acoustic trauma
      Awesome! How long did you have it?
       
    27. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GDK

      GDK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      20120
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      TMJ. Grinding teeth
      Hi there.

      It did come and go before, but looking back, it would go away when I was less stressed, so clenching and grinding less too.

      Now that I seem to know the cause, I am avoiding the clenching and grinding and thus the symptoms.

      Plus, I’m making sure those jaw muscles don’t get tense.

      If it returns, I’ll let you guys know. But at this point I’m very confident I’ve found the cause.
       
    28. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GDK

      GDK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      20120
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      TMJ. Grinding teeth
      Hi.

      For me, I couldn’t get it to go away quickly with a certain behaviour like a hot shower. I think it takes dedicated regular jaw massage, heat, avoiding clenching and a professional mouth guard. I think a professional mouth guard is key because then your jaw sits the way it should. A generic one may cause more muscle strain because it’s not designed for your bite. I had insurance cover my mouth guard, so it wasn’t that expensive of an experiment. But I am so glad I got it. I thought I was going to go insane with that hum 24/7.

      Once I really tried these things, it gradually disappeared within about 4-5 days, never to return. But like I’ve said, I wear the mouth guard every night, and massage my jaw while watching TV or driving. I focus on the Masseter muscle on the right side.
       
    29. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      GDK

      GDK Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      20120
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      TMJ. Grinding teeth
      About a year with a few breaks here and there.
       
    30. Ben Winders
      Pensive

      Ben Winders Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2020
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      acoustic
      Would be interesting to see if anyone else gets low hum relief from wearing a professional mouth guard during sleep or if @GDK just got very lucky here.
       
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