In some individuals, tinnitus can be modulated by specific maneuvers of the temporomandibular joint, head and neck, eyes, and limbs. Neuroplasticity seems to play a central role in this capacity for modulation, suggesting that abnormal interactions between the sensory modalities, sensorimotor systems, and neurocognitive and neuroemotional networks may contribute to the development of somatosensory tinnitus. Current evidence supports a link between somatic disorders and higher modulation of tinnitus, especially in patients with a normal hearing threshold. Patients with tinnitus who have somatic disorders seems to have a higher chance of modulating their tinnitus with somatic maneuvers; consistent improvements in tinnitus symptoms have been observed in patients with temporomandibular joint disease following targeted therapy for temporomandibular disorders. Somatosensory tinnitus is often overlooked by otolaryngologists and not fully investigated during the diagnostic process. Somatic disorders, when identified and treated, can be a valid therapeutic target for tinnitus; however, somatic screening of subjects for somatosensory tinnitus is imperative for correct selection of patients who would benefit from a multidisciplinary somatic approach.
Keywords: Tinnitus; somatic modulation of tinnitus; somatosensory tinnitus; temporomandibular joint disorders.