Re: ear pain/tmj
I can't answer your question about the ear plugs, but the ear and TMJ are just mm apart so I could see where you might get pressure/pain from the ear plugs.
Have you tried wearing silicone wax ear pillows insead of traditional ear plugs? They mold around the outer part of your ear canal. The silicone wax ear molds are even re-usable for several uses if you need. I haven't tried them for your purposes, but the packaging looks pretty impressive. I use the silicone was to help with pain on my braces. It works much better than the traditional orthodontic wax. Anyway, it is something I would try if I had your issues. It reduces noise 22 db which is fairly significant.
Asthma, Allergies, severe LPR/GERD, Anemia, TMJD, Hearing Loss, Ulnar Impaction Syndrome, Shoulder Impingement, Ankle ligament repair, Benign Joint Hypermobility