Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) involve the junction between the temporal bones of the skull and the jaw. TMJ ear pain results from the malfunction of the muscles or joints of the jaw or the fibrous tissue that connects them.
Due to the proximity of the temporomandibular joint to the ear, disturbances in this joint may also affect hearing.
TMJ disorders encompass a group of painful conditions that affect the masticatory muscles and the temporomandibular joint. When experiencing this condition, the patient may encounter pain while chewing and speaking, sometimes leading to discomfort in the ear.
Pain appears in most cases after puberty and, in 80% of cases, affects females.
The most common TMJ causes are:
There is a close correlation between hearing loss and TMJ. In fact, the anatomical proximity between this joint and the hearing system could lead to the occurrence of hearing problems as the inflammation of the joint can spread, affecting the hearing system.
Let us examine different types of hearing loss caused by TMJ disorder.
Due to the anatomical proximity between the temporomandibular joint and the ear, the inflammation of this joint can also extend to the auditory system, causing pain. In this case, however, the research work must be interdisciplinary to rule out possible implications for the ear.
TMJ can potentially trigger other hearing disorders, like tinnitus, where individuals perceive a continuous ringing sound without any actual external noise. Specifically, the inner ear, responsible for sound perception, may be affected, leading to an inability to capture sounds accurately and resulting in discomfort.
TMJ can be treated through surgical or non-surgical therapy.
Surgical therapy is aimed at reducing joint load, preserving joint mobility and cartilage. Non-surgical therapy, on the other hand, acts through various therapies, both manual and non-manual, which aim to rehabilitate the joint.
If experiencing hearing loss, a hearing aid can be an effective solution. Nonetheless, before making any decisions, it is always best to consult a specialist to find the most suitable solution for your specific hearing needs.