Ear Symptoms

TMJ often presents itself in a variety of ways.

TMJ: Ear Symptoms

TMJ is often called the "great impostor". Why? Because TMJ often presents itself in a variety of ways. Often a physician or ENT specialist will be chasing the pain without any evidence of a problem in the ear. If you have ear symptoms that are not resolved, the problem could very well be TMJ.

Some of the symptoms that can result form TMJ:

Ear Pain

Ringing and/or a roaring noise in the ears can be the result of several factors. Exposure to very loud noise, clogging of the external auditory canal by ear wax, swelling or inflammation of the ear drum or an overdose of aspirin can all cause Tinnitus. However, a large number of cases are misdiagnosed and are really the result of TMJ. Many of these cases are the result of the patient having "unhappy muscles" resulting from a "bad bite". The jaw mechanism is a complex network of vessels, muscles and nerves. When the bite is out of alignment, the muscles, nerves and vessels of the ears can be affected. Tinnitus is the result of irritation of the malleus bone in the ear by certain ligaments and other muscles of the ear and Eustachian tube. In addition, the medial Pterygoid muscle can trigger this irritation. The tensor tympania is a tiny middle ear muscle that is attached to the malleus. When it contracts, the tension on the tympanic membrane increases. To much contraction can result in a ringing.
If the cause of your tinnitus is an unstable bite, a neuromuscular dentist can realign your bite so the jaws work together, with less muscle tension. This will relieve the ringing in the ears that was caused by the unstable bite.

Ear Congestion

The Eustachian tube is a tube that connects the middle ear to the back of the nose. Its primary job is to regulate the pressure in the middle ear. The Eustachian tube's secondary purpose is to rid the middle ear space of any fluid, infection or debris. Several small muscles located in the back of the throat and palate control the opening and closing of the tube. Swallowing and yawning cause contraction of these muscles, and help to regulate Eustachian tube function.
The Eustachian tube is normally closed to prevent contamination of the middle ear. A common problem is a failure of the Eustachian tube to regulate pressure effectively. Partial or complete blockage of the Eustachian tube can cause popping, clicking, and ear fullness. This blockage can result from swelling and inflammation associate with an ear infection. It can also occur when the muscle controlling the Eustachian tube goes into spasm. When the jaws are out of alignment, the muscles have to compensate for the malocclusion. This can lead to muscle spasm and resulting in partial blockage of the tube. By correcting the bite we can often resolve the congestion.


Vertigo, otherwise known as dizziness, is usually the result of a disturbance in the inner ear. It can occur as a result of: Arthritis in the neck, Migraines or poor circulation. As noted elsewhere in this site, migraines and poor circulation to the blood vessels can both be the result of a misaligned bite. Correcting the malocclusion can often improve vertigo.