If you have this going on, it could be a reason for your tinnitus
Tinnitus is the phantom sensation of sound in the absence of overt acoustic stimulation.
Somatosensory tinnitus is a cause of subjective tinnitus that should be taken into account in patients with signs and symptoms of cervical pain and dysfunction, especially those with normal audiometric tests.
Somatosensory tinnitus is a subgroup of tinnitus that is responsive to manual-based tinnitus treatments by your physical therapist. This could provide relief from your tinnitus symptoms. This can include, but not limited to:
Cervical Joint Mobilization or Manipulation
Temporomandibular Joint Mobilization
Myofascial Release to neck and jaw/face
Trigger point release to neck and jaw/face
Specific pain relieving exercises to your neck and jaw/face
If you have had normal audiometric tests or even have hearing aids to address tinnitus but continuing to have symptoms, we recommend you speak with your physician and/or audiologist. Usually, our patients mention that their tinnitus symptoms often change in its loudness, pitch, or localization during movement (actively by your own muscles or passively by a clinician or even dentist) in the head or neck region.
If you notice the above correlation, you may benefit from an evaluation and treatment to determine if any of your current remaining symptoms are due to the TMJ (face/jaw) or the neck.
To help you make an even better decision, we are providing data from Sanchez and Rocha in 2011.
The following are the set of diagnostic criteria from the authors to help in recognizing patients with tinnitus.
If you have any of these, it is more likely you have a subtype of tinnitus called somatosensory tinnitus and you could benefit from treatments.
According to these criteria, somatosensory tinnitus is suspected when the medical history shows at least one of the following:
evident history of head or neck trauma
tinnitus association with some manipulation of the teeth, jaw, or cervical spine
recurrent pain episodes in head, neck, or shoulder girdle
temporal coincidence of appearance or increase of both pain and tinnitus
increase in tinnitus during inadequate postures during rest, walking, working, or sleeping; and
intense bruxism periods during the day or night
If you are having tinnitus and not responding as well as you would hope, feel free to contact us for an evaluation and treatment to see if we can help you.
Harrison Vaughan is a physical therapist and co-owner of PhysioFit of North Carolina. He provides physical therapy assessment and treatment of somatosensory tinnitus in Wake Forest, NC. He utilizes patient education, ergonomic changes, cervical spine strengthening and/or mobility training, and local TMJ manual therapy procedures to help you.
If you are having pain, contact your dentist, ENT or audiologist to see if you are a right candidate for PT services by PhysioFit of North Carolina. Feel free to contact us below too for direct care.