Unrecognized Jaw Muscles
For many people, altering tinnitus with jaw motion could be linked to three tiny muscles that used to be jaw muscles in our evolutionary ancestors.
The three tiny muscles are the tensor tympani, tensor veli palatini, and stapedius. They may be small, but they still have important roles to play when it comes to hearing.
The tensor tympani, for example, connects to your eardrum, and when you hear a loud noise, it begins to contract involuntarily. No one knows exactly why, but there are two prevailing theories. First, it may protect the delicate hearing components from damage. Second, it may be intended to improve the transmission of these sounds. The tensor tympani may achieve both effects simultaneously.
The tensor tympani and tensor veli palatini open the Eustachian tube to allow your ear pressure to equalize with outside pressure. The stapedius is the smallest skeletal muscle and it works to stabilize the stapes, the body’s smallest bone, to help our hearing.
These functions link to jaw movements, though they may not seem like it. The tensor tympani and tensor veli palatini connect to the trigeminal nerve. Remember, this is the nerve that is most associated with movements that change tinnitus. These muscles often contract when we perform voluntary actions of the jaw. When you speak, chew, swallow, or yawn, these muscles contract. In fact, these two muscles have to be coordinated with jaw muscles. Otherwise, they couldn’t open the Eustachian tube at proper times to equalize ear pressure.