What is the connection with TMJ and Hearing Loss?
TMJ is characterized by stiffness and tenderness of the temporomandibular joint areas and is associated with symptoms such as headaches, vertigo, dizziness, ringing in the ear and neck pain. What you may not know is that TMJ disorder has also been linked to hearing loss. It was discovered that the tissues around the temporomandibular joint uses the same pain nerve pathways as the inner ear. When the joint is in pain, the signals of discomfort, on the way to the brain, can become cross wired with the signals from the inner ear. This causes the inner ear to think it is in pain and in trying to relieve this pain, the ear contracts muscles deep inside the head in an attempt to reset the pain sensors. As the muscles in the inner ear spasm, the bones of the inner ear, which are essential to hearing and balance, are displaced out of alignment. This displacement disrupts the transmission of sound through the eardrum, which can sound like a strange buzzing or ringing. In rare cases, the spasms of the muscles in the inner ear are so strong, they can result in total deafness. Treating TMJ syndrome is definitely in the best interest of our ears.
Source: Angela Britt, DMD, Exceptional Dentistry of the Golden Isles