A Guide to Understanding TMJ and Hearing Loss

A Guide to Understanding TMJ and Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be a result of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues in certain individuals. TMJ edema and inflammation may readily impact the ear as well as other surrounding tissues and structures. The TMJ links the skull to the lower jaw.

Ask your healthcare practitioner to examine you for a TMJ condition if the reason for your hearing loss is still unknown or if you have hearing loss along with symptoms like headaches, jaw clicking, or trouble chewing.

The relationship between TMJ issues and hearing loss is covered in this article. It describes how hearing loss caused by TMJ symptoms may be treated, how the condition is diagnosed, and how it can influence your hearing.

What is TMJ?

The joint that joins the jaw to the skull is called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). In front of each ear, on either side of the face, is a TMJ. These joints provide the motions required for eating, speaking, and expressing facial expressions. Joint sounds, discomfort, and atypical jaw motions can all be signs of TMJ dysfunction.

How TMJ Causes Hearing Loss

Can TMJ cause hearing loss? Given that the TMJ and middle ear are adjacent, a jaw problem may impair hearing. It’s believed that pressure or inflammation from the TMJ might impact nearby muscles and nerves, resulting in clogged eustachian tubes, however, the precise cause is unknown.

According to some specialists, disturbed middle-ear/inner-ear pressure homeostasis is the cause of hearing loss connected to TMJ.

When middle ear fluid cannot be adequately drained by the eustachian tubes, tinnitus and hearing loss may result.

Symptoms Of TMJ-related Hearing Loss

Here are some common symptoms of TMJ-related hearing loss:

  • Ear pain or discomfort
  • Ringing or buzzing sound in the ears (tinnitus)
  • A feeling of fullness or pressure in the ears
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Trouble hearing or understanding speech, especially in noisy environments
  • Changes in your ability to hear certain frequencies or pitches
  • Sensitivity to loud sounds (hyperacusis)
  • Jaw pain or stiffness
  • Clicking, popping, or grinding sounds when you move your jaw
  • Headaches, particularly around the temples or behind the eyes

Please keep in mind that these symptoms can vary from person to person, and it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Types Of TMJ Disorder Hearing Loss


The transmission of sound waves from the middle ear cavity to the inner ear is hindered by this kind of hearing loss. Sounds are softer and less powerful because there is less energy entering the inner ear than there usually is.


The auditory nerve or inner ear malfunction is the cause of this kind of hearing loss. Organ damage in the inner ear can also lead to sensorineural hearing loss. It can lead to a metabolic issue in the inner ear fluids or prevent the hair cells from activating the ear’s nerves. 


This is a hybrid of the two hearing loss kinds that were previously addressed. Apart from the permanent loss of hearing resulting from inner ear or auditory nerve damage, a malfunctioning middle ear mechanism might also be the reason. Because of this, hearing loss is less common than sensorineural loss alone.

Because of its position, jaw joint inflammation and discomfort can spread to the ear. The symptoms of temporomandibular jaw problems impact the ears and hearing in a complete 85% of cases. 

Because the TMJ joint is close to the ear, inflammation there may directly affect the ears. It may result in clogged or stuffy ears, discomfort, and hearing loss, among other detrimental consequences on hearing. It may also induce blocked Eustachian tubes.

Treatment for TMJ and Hearing Loss

Your hearing loss may be restored and ear-related symptoms may be relieved with treatment for a TMJ issue.

The disorder’s etiology may influence the course of treatment. Treatments for TMJ include:

  • Muscle relaxers to relieve tension
  • Mouth guards or splints to ease the tension in the jaw muscles
  • Prescription and over-the-counter analgesics
  • Acupuncture
  • Counseling
  • Strengthening your jaw muscles with physical therapy
  • Biofeedback

In rare circumstances, your doctor could advise seeing an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to fix any TMJ impairment.

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Dr. Kimberly Langdon

Kimberly Langdon

Dr. Kimberly Langdon has been an MD for 31 years, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place accolades for her Senior Research Project and Score of 98th percentile on a National Proficiency Test.

During her clinical career, she delivered over 2000 babies and specialized in minimally invasive procedures, menopause, endometriosis, menstrual disorders, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. After retiring from clinical practice, she founded a medical device company to commercialize her two patented and four patent-pending medical devices for both life-threatening and non-life-threatening infections.

Kimberly Langdon M.D.

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Coologics, 2010-present
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine 1987-1991
The Ohio State University Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program 1991-1995
Private practice 1995-2010

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., received his medical doctorate from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. During his medical school training, Dr. Hsu worked with various patients, including adult and pediatric patients with acute and chronic conditions. Dr. Hsu’s interests include neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and sleep medicine.

Before medical school, Dr. Hsu finished a master’s degree at Harvard University and wrote a thesis on neuroimaging in schizophrenia patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. Dr. Hsu was also a part of the 2008 NASA Phoenix Lander Mission team, which sent a robotic spacecraft to the North polar region of Mars. Dr. Hsu also had research experience on neuroimaging in neonates at Boston Children’s Hospital, another Harvard Medical School-affiliated Hospital.

Since graduating from medical school, Dr. Hsu has worked as a full-time medical writer and consultant. In addition, he has experience writing and ghostwriting books and articles for physicians and health technology start-up companies. Dr. Hsu believes good communication between healthcare providers and patients creates the best results.


-Peer Reviewed Journal Article:
Kounaves, S.P., Hecht, M.H., West, S.J., Morookian, J.-M., Young, S.M.M., Quinn, R., Grunthaner, P., Wen, X., Weilert, M., Cable, C.A., Fisher, A., Gospodinova, K., Kapit, J., Stroble, S., Hsu, P.-C., Clark, B.C., Ming, D.W. and Smith, P.H. The MECA wet chemistry laboratory on the 2007 phoenix mars scout Lander. Journal of Geophysical Research. 2009, Mar; 114(E3): 10.1029/2008je003084.

-Poster Presentation:
2011 Harvard Psychiatry Mysell Poster Session; Boston, MA
Hsu, P.C., Rathi, Y., Eckbo, R., Nestor, P., Niznikiewicz, M., Thompson, E., Kubicki, M., Shenton, M.E. (March, 2011). Two-Tensor Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Acoustic Radiations in Schizophrenia

Dr. Nicolette Natale

Nicolette Natale

Dr. Nicolette Natale is a physician, with a background in Psychology, General Medicine, and English Literature, combining her expertise to provide readers with the most accurate, easy-to-understand, and comprehensive information regarding healthcare. She received her Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from Nova Southeastern University, and her bachelor’s in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Miami. Dr. Natale seeks to empower individuals with knowledge, fostering a greater understanding of holistic health and encouraging a proactive approach to well-being