Tinnitus with temporomandibular joint disorders: a specific entity of tinnitus patients?

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011 Nov;145(5):748-52. doi: 10.1177/0194599811413376. Epub 2011 Jun 25.


Objective: Tinnitus is frequently associated with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction. However, the nature of the relationship is not fully understood. Here the authors compared 30 patients with a confirmed diagnosis of temporomandibular joint dysfunction and tinnitus to a group of 61 patients with tinnitus but without any subjective complaints of TMJ dysfunction with respect to clinical and demographic characteristics.

Study design: Case-control study.

Setting: Tertiary referral center.

Subjects: Tinnitus patients with and without TMJ dysfunction presenting at the Department of Prosthetic Dentistry and th: Tinnitus Clinic at the University of Regensburg.

Results: Tinnitus patients with TMJ disorder had better hearing function (P < .0005), lower age (P = .001), and lower age at tinnitus onset (P = .002) and were more frequently female (P = .003). Their subjectively perceived tinnitus loudness was lower (P = .01), and more of them could modulate their tinnitus by jaw or neck movements (P = .001).

Conclusion: Classical risk factors for tinnitus (age, male gender, hearing loss) are less relevant in tinnitus patients with TMJ disorder, suggesting a causal role of TMJ pathology in the generation and maintenance of tinnitus. Based on this finding, treatment of TMJ disorder may represent a causally oriented treatment strategy for tinnitus.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Age of Onset
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / complications*
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / physiopathology
  • Tinnitus / complications*
  • Tinnitus / etiology
  • Tinnitus / physiopathology