TMJ Induced Tinnitus, Scared but Slightly Hopeful

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Stephanie Wood, Jul 22, 2016.

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    1. Stephanie Wood

      Stephanie Wood Member

      New York
      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      TMJ/Teeth Clenching
      Hey there, I'm Stephanie, 18 years old and a little over a week in with the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I guess I'll go through my whole story and my hopes for the future.

      The Story:
      Now, I wasn't even aware of what Tinnitus was for all of my life. Since I'm pretty young, I've yet to really meet someone in the real world who's had this thing. I've always had a lot of problems with my right ear - wax build up being the main one. However, I was never in any pain. However, over the course of several months I would rarely get this sharp pain in my right ear that would last barely a second, but it never really hindered me. I started getting a little nervous when I came out of the shower a couple months ago and my right ear felt slightly full/mulled. I anxiously told my mom about it and she said it was really nothing to worry about, she told me of ear problems and mentioned this one thing called "Tinnitus". I didn't think there was ever any reason for me to get this issue so I just brushed it off.

      But low and behold - a couple months later- this happens. I'm laying in bed, browsing on my phone at about 3 in the morning, when suddenly I sense a mild high-pitched ringing sound in my right ear. It literally took me less than 5 minutes to go into a full-blown panic attack. I sat up from my bed, crying in complete darkness, trying to tell myself that this wasn't happening. I went through 4 hours of actual hell as I tried to do anything to dull the noise, but nothing worked. I actually got myself so worked up that I nearly threw up. When my mom woke up I told her about it, still crying, and she reassured me it was just a build of up wax like usual. Soon after the ringing started my ear was feeling very full and the right side of my neck was very tense. My jaw felt slightly weird too. I'll spare you the details, but when I went to my regular doctor (who wasn't my regular doctor, but just a temporary doctor), she looked in my ear for about 3 seconds and was like "Welp, it's probably just allergies."

      After nasal spray didn't work, we went to the ENT about 4 days later and I got the whole hearing test done. My hearing is normal and the little hairs in my ears are totally fine (Even though, before the ringing, I always had my ear buds in during school and most of the time at home). This made me feel a tiny bit better. When the doctor saw me (and he was very nice), it took him all of a few minutes to figure out what the problem was. Instead of an ear infection, my problem was being caused by TMJ. He told me to take Neproxen twice a day for a week, use heat on the joint twice a day, and eat soft foods. I had relief, but it didn't last long.

      It's been about 5 days since I started therapy for my TMJ, and not too much has changed. The fullness in my ears has gone down a bit, but I can still feel it and in my neck. Honestly, my jaw really doesn't hurt that much, but it is a bit tight in the right side when I try to open it and there's also a little pop in the joint.

      As for the Tinnitus - it's hard to say. For a couple of says after taking the meds it did seem to go down a bit, but it keeps fluctuating. For most of the time the ringing is very low, to the point where I can really only fully hear it when I'm in a quiet room with no noise. However, there are several times during the day where it gets louder, or sometimes it'll make this weird noise where it sounds like someone taps on a mic and the mic makes the really cringy shrieking sound, but I only get that for less than a second. It's almost never the same volume for too long but when it is at a very low volume I try and relax. During my time writing this, the sound is currently extremely low ringing, almost to the point where it sounds more like air being blown than ringing. That's bound to change at some point during the day though.

      As for what I think specifically caused this:
      I think it may have been my bad habit of constantly clenching my teeth. I did it during school, and most of the day when I was at home. I wasn't just clenching, but nipping at the inside of my lip in front of my teeth, so I was moving my jaw around a lot as well. I also almost always had my hand under my jaw as school, causing my jaw to be closed tightly. I'm not sure if it's just the muscles around my jaw that are messed up or the actual joint, but I'm really hoping that this is what's causing the ringing. (Not to mention I'm an avid gamer and digital artist, so nearly all of my day is spend sitting in front of a computer, so my posture is pretty gross).

      Why I need a little help from here:
      Even though I've read countless articles online about how TMJ causes ringing in the ears and how there's a very good chance (especially for someone like me) to have it go away with TMJ therapy, I'm still terrified. I'm terrified that it won't get better with therapy. I'm terrified that it'll get worse. For the past week or so I've had a routine of clutching one of my stuffed animals and walking around the house like a lost child, crying so hard I can barely breathe. I've lost a lot of my appetite, and have random crying sprees.

      (Little fact, I did have braces for a few years and also should be wearing a retainer, but I kinda dropped that off after a few months..) I'm going to see my Orthodontist in 5 days, and hopefully he'll set me up with a night guard/bite splint. I read from many sources that this was one of the best helpers in curing TMJ Tinnitus. I'm so scared that before these 5 days are up the ringing is gonna go back to being louder constantly.

      I'm depressed, anxious, and don't know what to do. But I can't help but feel a little hopeful that this will all go away and be nothing more than a bad memory for me to learn from. The ringing, in general, has gotten better in the past week. There are still times where it's quite distracting but it only lasts for an hour or so, and more often when I'm laying down. The ringing does not respond to noise, and when I clench me teeth really hard I can make it louder.

      One of my biggest fears with this whole thing is that I'll be going to college in New York City in August, which I'm beyond excited for. However, it really pisses me off that this catastrophe decided to start now. I'm really scared that if it doesn't get better, it'll be severely detrimental to my college experience and my concentration. And even though the ringing is most likely caused by TMJ, I'm scared that being around so many busy noises might make it worse.

      But, here's to hoping, with a bit of Orthopedic help, that it will get better.
      • Hug Hug x 1
    2. billie48

      billie48 Member Benefactor Hall of Fame Ambassador Team Research

      Vancouver, Canada
      Tinnitus Since:
      Welcome to the forum. Sorry that you are suffering so much with your TMJ caused T. If your T is caused by TMJ, then when it is healed and your ears have time to settle down, the T may just fade. You should try to be positive that this will be the case, because too much worry will increase your stress and anxiety level and these are bad for T. As you say, there are improvements already and your T has gotten better in the past week, so why not focus on the positive. T feeds on stress and negative emotions. Do your best to keep calm and relax. Mask your T if you need to, so you won't get too anxious by the ringing.

      It is normal to worry about study while suffering with T. At this initial stage of T suffering, it is normal to be a bit hard to focus and concentrate and trying to keep positive. Don't blame yourself for that and don't despair either. There are many young folks who have T and still studying. After the initial struggle, they do manage to study and get their degree. Some even going to medical school after T and so you should not be too worried about that. Here are some people who have struggled very tough with their T initially but are continuing with their college/university studies or even going onto medical school. So take it easy. Enjoy your study. God bless.\

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