Somatic tinnitus is an audio disorder that involves changes in the brain's communication with the ear. The ear receives auditory information from the somatosensory system in the cervical region. The brain then processes this information using neural fibers that project to the trigeminal ganglion, dorsal root ganglia, and the central auditory system. In somatic tinnitus, the auditory system alters spontaneous rates of firing among its neurons, which can contribute to the loudness or pitch of the tinnitus.
Bruxism and somatic ear ringing are associated. Both conditions are caused by parafunctional occlusal activity. However, it's the former that has more negative effects than the latter. Several bruxism therapies are available to patients with ear ringing. These therapies include bruxism medications and actions. The aim of these treatments is to alleviate symptoms of the affliction, such as sleep bruxism and stress.
Somatic tinnitus, also known as bruxism, is a form of TMJ disorder. The symptoms of bruxism are most often associated with anxiety or stress. Some studies have even linked somatic tinnitus to TMJ dysfunction. Bruxism and somatic tinnitus can be very debilitating for individuals with hearing loss.
Amongst the various somatic tests, somatic modulation may be the most important criterion in the diagnosis of somatic tinnitus. A recent study reported that some patients with somatic tinnitus have mild TMJ modulation, despite reporting symptoms of somatic dysfunction. This suggests that TMJ disorder can affect the ascending pathways in the NECK.
Another common method for reducing the frequency and volume of somatic tinnitus is chiropractic treatment. These treatments are effective for patients with head and neck disorders, including TMJ. Unlike other treatments, osteopaths and chiropractors can reduce somatic tinnitus and treat TMJ disorders as well. In addition, patients with somatic tinnitus can benefit from biofeedback therapy, which monitors muscle signals.
Among patients with tinnitus, bruxism is the most common cause, with 69.4% of patients reporting a positive effect after TMJ treatment, whereas 30% experienced no change. Interestingly, patients with somatic tinnitus also had a higher prevalence of bruxism. Neither of these conditions had been associated with hearing impairment, and neither condition has an effect on the quality of life of tinnitus sufferers.
The authors of this study reviewed current evidence and discussed several case reports to highlight the importance of somatic tinnitus as a contributing cause. While the authors highlight some potential risks associated with somatic tinnitus, it's important to note that somatic modulation of tinnitus is prevalent. In addition to noise exposure, this condition is often associated with a range of somatic disorders.
Moreover, somatic tinnitus is influenced by somatosensory, auditory, and visual-motor inputs. These inputs change tinnitus attributes in response to external stimuli, including eye movements, forceful muscle contractions, and pressure on myofascial trigger points. Hence, the connection between bruxism and somatic tinnitus is complex.
The neural basis for somatic tinnitus is the same in patients suffering from a cervical spine disorder. Similar to the cranial and facial synapses, somatic tinnitus may be related to a range of somatic disorders. The common risk factors associated with somatic tinnitus include male gender, age, and hearing loss. Furthermore, somatic tinnitus may be related to a range of medical conditions.
In a study published in the journal Audiol Neurotol, a South Korean pharmaceutical company has shown that jaw clenching can cause tinnitus. Interestingly, jaw muscle contractions are also associated with somatic tinnitus. It is possible to screen patients for somatic stimulation by using jaw muscle contractions. In fact, clenching of the jaw can trigger tinnitus in up to 80 percent of cases.
In other words, jaw clenching is one cause of somatic tinnitus. It can be the result of any activity that affects the sensory system in the body. Muscle position sensors in the head and face produce somatic signals. These signals are responsible for producing tinnitus. Interestingly, the symptoms associated with somatic tinnitus do not appear to be related to a hearing impairment, unlike those associated with temporomandibular disorders. Patients with somatic tinnitus also do not experience a greater quality of life handicap.
The causes of jaw clenching are not fully understood, but researchers do know that patients with TMD frequently experience jaw clenching. The study will be conducted on patients with chronic somatic tinnitus. During this study, patients will be asked to report the frequency of jaw clenching in relation to tinnitus severity. Ultimately, researchers are looking for a simple way to measure the frequency of jaw clenching in relation to tinnitus in TMD patients.
There are various treatments available for somatic tinnitus. It is often caused by a problem with the sternocleidomastoid muscle, a large muscle under the ear that helps rotate the head. Torsion of the neck can cause a muscle spasm, which results in a tinnitus attack a few hours afterward. Some people are even able to modulate their tinnitus by eye movements, a condition known as gaze-evoked tinnitus.
A portable device called TENs can be used to treat somatic tinnitus. It is connected to the skin with electrodes and works to increase the inhibitory effects of DCN in the neck. Researchers found that somatic tinnitus improved with TENS, especially those with an intermittent “typewriter” pattern. However, some researchers believe that somatic maneuvers may be an overdiagnosis.
ENT physicians usually start with an evaluation of the patient's health history and examine their ears and head. As part of a standard tinnitus assessment, ENT doctors will ask about the duration and location of the complaints. Questions about the tinnitus's location, the presence of pain, and bruxism or clenching periods are also asked.
There are a variety of treatment options for somatic tinnitUS, and each treatment will have a unique focus on elucidating the cause and finding a suitable therapy. Various therapies may be applied toward multiple therapeutic targets, or they may produce no results at all. Some patients may seek out non-medical treatments to manage their tinnitus symptoms, but many of them will be left frustrated and disappointed.
The authors of a study have identified 16 diagnostic criteria that strongly suggest a somatic influence on tinnitus. These criteria are presented in Tables 1 to 3 below. It is important to note that despite the importance of somatic modulation, the presence of ST does not rule out TMJ. Therefore, it is crucial to integrate recent research into daily practice. The authors thank the FWO for funding the study.
The use of acupressure in treating tinnitus is one treatment option available for somatic tinnitus. Researchers have found that tapping the ear with a ringing sensation can reduce the volume and amplitude of the ringing. However, many patients do not experience significant improvements in their symptoms despite trying many different treatments. In addition, acupuncture has been shown to be an effective treatment for tinnitus.