Jaw Crunching Noise in Ear Questions and Answers

Jaw Crunching Noise in Ear Questions and Answers

If you hear a crunching sound caused by your jaw, come to Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders. We can help provide the right treatment for your symptoms. Call us to speak with a kind and caring professional or visit one of our clinics today. We serve patients from all over the USA. Locations in Bloomington IL, Peoria – Dunlap IL, Lafayette IN, Mishawaka IN, Columbia MO, Kansas City MO, Albuquerque NM, Brewster NY, El Paso TX, and Wausau WI.

The jaw is an important bone with a function that enables us to eat, drink, speak and sing. When it is working normally, there is no pain or audible sound present. However, if pain or abnormal sounds like crunching or crackling are present, it may be indicative of a TMJ disorder (TMD), or a dislocated jaw.

What is the crunching sound in my jaw?

A crunching or crackling sound in the jaw can have many potential causes, ranging in severity and type. These include:

Temporomandibular joint disorder — The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) attaches the jawbone to the skull. If something is wrong with this joint, it is referred to as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
TMD can make your jaw pop or crack. Other symptoms include:

  • Jaw stiffness
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Limited jaw movement
  • Pain in the jaw, face, or neck

TMD can occur without a specific cause. A contributing factor is clenching or grinding teeth, especially when subconscious.

Jaw dislocation or other injury — An injury to the face can dislocate or break the jaw. A dislocation occurs when the jawbone is forced out of place or extends beyond its normal range of motion, while a broken jaw occurs when the jawbone becomes fractured.

Common causes of facial injury include:

  • Physical trauma to the face
  • Vehicle accident
  • Sports injuries

A dislocated jaw can lead to TMD symptoms, including:

  • Jaw pain and cracking
  • Facial pain
  • Crooked bite
  • Difficulty talking
  • Difficulty opening or closing the mouth
  • Jaw locking

Obstructive sleep apnea — Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, occurs when the airways in the throat are too narrow, causing breathing to become interrupted or to stop completely. People with OSA are at higher risk of developing TMD. Although the connection is unclear, researchers believe that the resistance in the airways triggers a stress response. This may cause jaw muscles to clench together. Other symptoms of OSA include:

  • Snoring
  • Daytime tiredness
  • Dry mouth
  • Shift in mood
  • Morning headaches

Will ear crackling go away?

Ear crackling does not always require treatment. In many cases, these audible noises will go away on their own or with the appropriate treatment. However, if someone is experiencing severe crackling sounds or experiences them daily, it is recommended to speak to a doctor for a full diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

What does a crackling sound in the ear mean?

Crackling in the ears can be caused by several different conditions, such as the buildup of earwax, a dislocated jaw, or TMJ disorder. If the crackling sound is not too severe, there are various home remedies that can assist in alleviation. These should only be performed under the advice of a qualified medical professional.

How long does ear crackling last?

The crackling sound audible in one’s ear may last for varying lengths, depending on the cause. If the crackling is due to a condition such as TMJ disorder, it may be present for weeks, months, or longer if left untreated. A popping or crackling sound may also be present when recovering from a cold, and typically lasts no longer than a few days or a week.

If you or someone you love is experiencing a crunching noise when moving their jaw, come to Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders to discover what is causing the issue. Our kind and compassionate professionals are dedicated to providing a higher level of care. Our mission is to improve the quality of sleep for all of our patients, and in doing so, improve their quality of life. We serve patients all over the US, and have offices located in Bloomington IL, Peoria IL, Dunlap IL, Lafayette IN, Mishawaka IN, Columbia MO, Kansas City MO, Brewster NY, El Paso TX, Albuquerque NM, and Wausau WI. We look forward to serving you!

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