A lot of times it's the ear symptoms that lead people to an original diagnosis of TMJD. My symptoms began with mild ear aches several years ago. I now have the ear ringing, subjective hearing loss, fullness, dizziness etc. I've been wearing a splint 24/7 for almost three months, and so far have found no measurable improvement. Sometimes it takes awhile to get the jaw into its proper physiological position, so I'm still hanging in there. I should mention that my jaw did click on opening, which made it easier to diagnose TMJD. Have you been diagnosed with TMJ disorder?
Hasnít your dizziness or tinnitus improved at least a little bit after three months of wearing your splints? Have you seen an ENT doctor, and what did he/she say? What is subjective hearing loss, and how is it different from hearing loss due to diseases of the ear? How is it diagnosed?
When it comes to TMJD it seems that everybody has a different combination of symptoms, which makes treatment difficult. I've been experiencing most of the ear symptoms for about a year, so it may take awhile for them to ease up. Also, when I first got my splint I needed an adjustment immediately because my symptoms became worse. My muscles went into spasm and it took some time (and muscle relaxants) to get it back to a dull roar. This roller coaster makes it difficult to gauge whether or not there has been any improvement.
I've been to two ENT doctors. The first one found nothing wrong with me and suggested it was anxiety! The second ENT did an ENG (dizziness test), and I'm still waiting to get the results. I'm sure his tests will be negative as well. Subjective hearing loss is something that doesn't show up on tests. I sometimes have a hard time hearing certain sounds while other sounds are REALLY loud. It's considered "subjective" because it's not detected by an audiologist.
I've always had the Tinnitus. All my symptoms are ear related, and I have no jaw pain what so ever. I've been wearing a splint for one year. My improvements are very gradual. With every improvement, A relapse seems to follow.
After having these intense symptoms for over four years, I'm much better after the splint. But I have a ways to go.
Carol_in_california: I am glad the splint is working for you. What type of splint do you wear, when and how often?
Crystal: I hope your symptoms would eventually improve with your splint. I apologize if I am still a little bit confused about subjective hearing. Are your hearing tests done differently? If you have a hard time hearing certain sounds, and you therefore do not press the button when they play those sounds in the headset, why do they not show as a loss in the tests? Also, what type of splints do you use?
paintitbetter: Since you only have ear symptoms and no jaw symptoms, do you attribute your improvements to the splint? What type of splint do you wear? Did you have any pain initially when you started wearing them? How often did you have to adjust them?
Sorry about all the questions. I appreciate any information you may provide.
I Was diagnosed with a hearing loss for over 20 years. Also had tinnitus for that length of time. I was told the hearing loss caused the tinnitus. It wasn't until 2 years ago after a Chiropractor adjustment. I suddenly could hear better and the pitch of the tinnitus changed. My chrio also helped diagnose TMJD.
The hearing test that you describe, is the one that I have had done many times. And is reliable.
Like Carol, I went to many many ENT's . Not one of those doctors even mentioned TMJD, and I had All the classic TMJD ear related symptoms. One ENT talk me into nasal surgery. I now can breath better, but that's it. He told me I would be cured. After all these years I have found ENT's to be pretty much worthless unless you have sinus problems. When it comes to ear problems theirs nothing much they can do.
At least I have a good TMJ guy. I do attribute my improvements to my splint. I Wear a Orthotic that covers my top teeth 24/7. During my first year, I use to cheat a lot and take it out to eat. I am now trying to keep it while eating 100% of the time. I never had it adjusted. I am going to bring that up at my appointment on Thurs.
I get more information from these boards than I ever got from any Doctor.
Keep up the fight
Let me try to explain this - the muscle spasms that result from my TMJD also affect my eustachian tube. This tube connects the throat to the middle ear and keeps the air pressure in the middle ear the same as that of the outside atmosphere. Normally this happens without our knowing it. When the muscle around the eustachian tube goes into spasm, it closes off the eustachian tube and produces symptoms that mimic middle-ear problems. These include changes in hearing, earaches, buzzing, ringing and dizziness.
So sometimes my ear will "pop", and my hearing will become muffled. I call this "subjective" hearing loss because it fluctuates. I've had the hearing tests that you describe, and I should be getting the results in a couple of weeks.
About my splints - I wear a repositioning splint during the day and a splint at night to prevent clenching.
Crystalll - I have eustachian tube problems similar to what you indicated, and it does seem like my tubes are being constricted by the muscles in spasm. I have constant ear fullness, pressure, popping, and "clogged" feeling. Muscle relaxers have provided no relief, nor have bite splints (NTI splint, and other neuromuscular splints). I do not clench or grind even, but all my headache pain and problems began after I had my wisdom teeth removed.
I think after the tooth removal, either some nearby nerves or muslces got damaged. If muscles relaxers can't do the trick, I wonder how else to "open up" the e-tubes? FYI - my TM joints themselves are fine, and all sinus and CAT scans are negative.
When I first started treatment with my specialist both of my discs were displaced forward. Since beginning splint therapy, it seems that my discs are back in place (no more clicking), and now my problem seems to be mostly muscular. I have the ear symptoms CONSTANTLY, including a dizzy/off balance feeling. I do clench, but I'm trying to deal with that. I just can't believe that these spasms won't let up at all! I've also taken muscle relaxers, and although they take the "edge" off, they haven't given me relief from the ear symptoms.
One thing that sets me apart from a lot of sufferers is that I've never had wisdom teeth, therefore I've never had to have them removed. Thank god for that!
My specialist continues to assure me that the ear symptoms take a long time to resolve, so I'm hanging in there!
Since I do not clench or grind, I can't understand why I have such constant pain around the eyes, temples and jaw. I guess the neuromuscular splint just isn't the right fit yet, and maybe eventually will provide relief. I guess I will just have to keep searching various treatment options.
Before I was diagnosed with TMJD, I was seriously looking to for the free hearing tests that stop at our Pharmacy every now and then and I thought I was going deaf! I work in a hospital, and there are times when someone will say that their name is one thing, and I will enter in something else! That's how bad how my stuffiness is. Another reason to be happy, huh!
Muscle spasms do cause eustachian tube dysfunction. TMJ inflammation/swelling or fluid buildup in the joint can also impact the eustachian tube through pressure from swelling in the area. The difficulty is finding a dentist/TMJ specialist or doctor/ENT who understands the problem and knows how to treat it.
Re: Do you have ear ringing and hearing loss with TMJ?
I hope you get this message! I know its been years since your post. I myself have TMJ and am having left ear subjective hearing loss....which seems to get worse/come around everytime I get sick with a virus/cold. My question is did you find that the splints helped you recover some of your hearing, or do you feel as though they have prevented further subjective hearing loss issues? Just wondering how it is all coming along for you?
I recently had a TMJ dentist make me a nightgaurd, it seemed to crack open some stiffness, but some of that subjective hearing loss is still there, it is worrying me....I dont want it to keep getting worse. Anyways let me know if you found that your splints are helping you...
I hope to hear back....
(Also mine feels like everytime I get sick, something crystalizes...then I have to like crack my jaw (well the nightgaurd opened it up for me this last time), but then the stiffness eases up a bit...I only have TMJ on the left side, but I dont want to have more hearing issues...any hope/thoughts/ideas would be helpful! )