Do you have constant ringing in your ears that never goes away? It may not necessarily be noticeable when you are busy and doing activities, but it can be quite annoying when you are alone or trying to get some goodnight sleep.

If so, you may have a condition called “Tinnitus”.

In the past year, Stats Canada has reported that an estimated 37% of the adult population has had tinnitus.

Tinnitus can sound different for each individual. Such sounds would be:

  • Hissing
  • Clicking
  • Whistling
  • Ringing
  • Buzzing

There are various factors that can trigger tinnitus.

  • Age related hearing loss
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Earwax Blockage
  • Ear bone changes
  • TMJ (temporomandibular joint)/Jaw joint dysfunction

The main factor that physiotherapists can work with to reduce tinnitus intensity is TMJ dysfunction. 

The TMJ is the jaw joint that connects the jawbone with the rest of the skull. There are multiple muscles that control the jaw. When these muscles become tight or if the jaw joint has been traumatized, tinnitus can be the end result.

So how can we know if tinnitus is coming from the TMJ/Jaw?

There are multiple clues that can help lead us to that conclusion.

  • Does the tinnitus get better OR worse with moving your jaw

Try this Test:

  • Open the jaw as wide as possible and hold for 5 seconds.
  • Clench your teeth together and hold for 5 seconds.
  • Shift your jaw to the left and hold for 5 seconds.
  • Shift your jaw to the right and hold for 5 seconds.

Do any of these positions change the intensity of the tinnitus, if so, the TMJ may be contributing to your tinnitus.

  • Do you have facial or jaw pain?
  • At the onset of tinnitus, did you experience any trauma to the face or jaw?

If you found that moving your jaw in different directions alters the intensity of the ringing – for better or for worse, then we can certainly help you manage your tinnitus symptoms. When looking at the TMJ, we will also take into consideration your posture, neck, torso, and shoulders as they all can contribute to your TMJ issues.

If you have any questions or are unsure of whether physiotherapy can help with your tinnitus, give us a call or come on in for a consultation.

Author: Zachary Hum MScPT BAKin