Ringing Ears & Pulsing Headaches — Is It TMJ If Opening Mouth Wide Makes the Tinnitus WAY Louder?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by lphb, Apr 11, 2022.

    1. lphb

      lphb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      Hey everyone! This is my first post on Tinnitus Talk and I just want to say I think it's awesome that this resource exists and that everyone is so supportive on here.

      I started experiencing tinnitus in September of last year--a mild, tinny ringing in both of my ears--and then started getting pulsing headaches along with the ringing in October. I did experience some minor hearing loss the day after a concert in August, but I don't think that's what's initiated the tinnitus, especially the pulsatile part. It wouldn't make much sense for it to appear a month after the concert. Overall, the tinnitus and the pulsing pretty much hit me out of nowhere. I did go vegan in December, but from what I've read that probably wouldn't cause this stuff.

      I primarily only experience both at night. The ringing isn't very bothersome since it's pretty quiet. Sometimes I even forget it's there. But the throbbing headaches are very annoying. Sometimes the throbbing feels like it's coming from my ears, but most of the time it just feels like my temples are throbbing.

      I got an MRI and an MRA, and they both came back clean. I visited a specialist, and he told me that he doesn't know what's causing the ringing or the throbbing and that I'll just have to deal with it. I was feeling pretty discouraged.

      Then I noticed something. When I open my mouth really wide or yawn, my ringing gets WAY louder. This leads me to believe that my tinnitus is related to my jaw. Is there anything I can do to treat this? And is this TMJ? I don't have any jaw pain, but I do wear a retainer every night.

      Any and all help is much appreciated.
       
    2. ajc

      ajc Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2002; spike 2009; worse 2017-18
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud music - noise damage
      I'm sorry to say but what you experience is called somatic tinnitus, about 70-80% of everyone who has tinnitus also has somatic tinnitus. Somatic tinnitus means that you can change the loudness or frequency of your tinnitus by jaw/mouth/neck movements. Having somatic tinnitus doesn't mean it is treatable. It just means you are able to modulate your tinnitus by those physical movements.

      It's not TMJ.
       
    3. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      Many things can cause tinnitus @lphb. It can also appear for no apparent reason. Since you have seen an ENT specialist and no underlying medical reason can be found for the tinnitus onset which is good, at the same time this leaves you wondering what could be responsible for the tinnitus since you are also experiencing headaches.

      TMJ could have triggered the onset of tinnitus but exposure to loud noise or regularly listening to audio through headphones, earbuds, AirPods, headsets, at too high a volume are the most common causes.

      If you have been exposed to loud noise or use any type of headphones regularly, then it's likely that you have been listening at too high a volume without realizing it.

      Please click on the link and read my post: New To Tinnitus, What To Do?

      Take care,
      Michael

      New to Tinnitus, What to Do? | Tinnitus Talk Support Forum
       
    4. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      lphb

      lphb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @Michael Leigh, thank you for the help! If I may ask, do you have any ideas about what may be causing the headaches? I have to think they're related to the tinnitus, and I'm much more concerned about them than the ringing.
       
    5. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      lphb

      lphb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @ajc, thank you, that's good to know.
       
    6. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      You are correct @lphb, headaches are linked to tinnitus. I asked my ENT consultant some years ago whether the frequent headaches I was getting were caused by the tinnitus, particularly when it is severe. She said yes and explained that many of her patients experience headaches with tinnitus.

      You haven't mentioned whether you were exposed to loud noise or a frequent user of headphones before the onset of tinnitus. If you were then you probably have noise induced tinnitus. In that case my advice is not to use any type of headphones even at low volume and keep away from loud sounds.

      All the best,
      Michael
       
    7. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      lphb

      lphb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @Michael Leigh, got it, that makes sense. I was exposed to loud noise at a concert about a month before my tinnitus started, and the headaches started about a month later. And yes, I do use headphones on a daily basis, so that might contribute to it as well. Thanks again for your informative answers.
       
      • Like Like x 1
    8. Michael Leigh

      Michael Leigh Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Brighton, UK
      Tinnitus Since:
      04/1996
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise induced
      As I have already explained, the most common causes of tinnitus are exposure to loud noise and headphone use. I strongly advise you to stop using headphones even at low volume. It is likely you will then start to see an improvement in the tinnitus.

      Go to my started threads and read: The Habituation Process, How to Habituate to Tinnitus, Will My Tinnitus Get Worse? Take your time and read them.

      Best of luck,
      Michael
       
    9. FearsforEars

      FearsforEars Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2022
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      two heavy metal guys playing amazingly loud + me no plugs
      @lphb, you could have TMJD. If you are wearing a retainer every night, that is suspect as it can be something that alters the way your jaw resets at night. It is possible that you are irritating your TMJ joint somehow with your retainer. I wonder if you can talk with the doctor about trying some jaw relaxation or even stopping the retainer for a while and see if that inflammation goes does or something in your jaw joint, if it is there.

      Most people with TMJD have some ear symptoms like ringing in their ears. TMJD is extremely common, especially for people that are wearing something like retainer. The jaw joint is right in there at your ear.

      I know for me when my TMJD is flaring my ears go crazy with ringing that comes and goes, has nothing to do with audio trauma or anything and is expected for a TMJD flare.

      If you can go without your retainer for a week or so, and don't chew gum or eat chewy foods and try to relax, it will help you know if that is causing you jaw joint issues that is causing your tinnitus. If it is causing inflammation in the jaw joint, that can be pretty serious over time, you don't want to mess up the disk in there.
       
    10. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      lphb

      lphb Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      09/2021
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Unknown
      @FearsforEars, thanks for your input. I'm definitely going to take a week off from the retainer to see if it makes a difference.
       
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