How Do You Treat TMJ Fullness in the Ears?
Do you have a crackling sound in your ear due to TMJ?! Call our dedicated team today at Koala® Center For Sleep & TMJ Disorders or visit us online to book an appointment. We have convenient locations across the U.S. in Bloomington IL, Peoria – Dunlap IL, Lafayette IN, Mishawaka IN, Kansas City MO, El Paso TX and Wausau WI.
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Crepitus is a sound or vibration that occurs when tissues in the body, such as cartilage in the joints, are damaged and rub against one another. One of the most common causes of crepitus is dysfunction of the TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder. TMJ disorder occurs when the various parts in the temporomandibular joint become misaligned; this can cause the bone to rub on bone or cartilage. This rubbing can damage cartilage, causing it to develop into crepitus.
Yes, TMJ disorder can cause a crackling sound to occur in the ears; this is known as crepitus. In addition to a crackling or popping sound, crepitus also refers to a grating sensation produced by the friction of bone rubbing against cartilage. Crackling in the ears does not only occur from TMJ disorder, it can also be the result of ear wax that has dried on the eardrum. When the dried wax expands, it cracks, which is audible in the ear canal as a crackling, crunching or popping sound.
When a crunching or crackling sound is audible in the ears, it is likely caused by dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint. In order to address this concern, the underlying cause of the crunching sound must first be taken care of. The best way to find the most effective treatment is by visiting a dentist who specializes in treating temporomandibular joint disorders. The dentist may utilize any one of several different modalities, including oral splints and mouth guards, or they may even prescribe physical therapy to help stretch the jaw muscles and relieve tension on the temporomandibular joint. Gentle stretches and strengthening exercises can improve TMJ health, reducing symptoms.
The TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, is positioned just in front of the ear; dysfunction with this joint can therefore easily impact how the ears feel. Several TMJ-related causes can cause stuffiness of the ear; tension in some of the jaw muscles can actually trigger tension in the stapedius muscle, the muscle of the inner ear. When this occurs, the eardrum tenses and can give a sense of stuffiness or diminished hearing. Chronic clenching or grinding of the teeth can trigger these types of spasms; the more frequently teeth clenching or grinding occurs, the more severe the ear symptoms will be. Other jaw muscles can also spasm from chronic clenching, causing the Eustachian tube to narrow or close. This affects inner ear pressure and can muffle hearing, similar to how ears pop when descending in an airplane.
In hard-to-diagnose cases that involve muffled hearing, ear pain, hearing changes or itching deep in the ear, it is likely that a chronic TMJ condition exists. In the treatment of TMJ disorder, using orthotic appliances to decompress the joint can restore ear function and improve hearing. Orthotic appliances are different from other techniques such as bite adjustment and bite equilibration as they use orthopedic medicine to improve jaw function.
In some cases, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) may be used; this technique confuses the muscle memory to find the optimal resting position of the jaw. This can effectively ameliorate ear fullness when caused by the temporomandibular joint disorder.
If you are experiencing fullness in your ears, trust the team at Koala® Centers For Sleep & TMJ Disorders to provide you with relief.