If you’ve ever suffered from tinnitus, welcome to the club — 10% of Americans report a ringing in their ears (or buzzing, hissing, or clicking) lasting more than three months.

This mysterious auditory issue isn’t itself a disease; Instead, it’s a symptom with a wide variety of potential causes. Scientists aren’t even positive what it is . To make things even more confusing, there seem to be two distinct types of tinnitus — called subjective and objective — that can be difficult to differentiate between–the distinction may even be meaningless. Diagnosing the cause can be extremely challenging, and without diagnosing the cause, it is near impossible to find the proper tinnitus treatment or refer people to coping mechanisms if their tinnitus is untreatable.

Tinnitus as a Side Effect of TMJ

Determining the cause of tinnitus is the first step to tinnitus treatment, and if you have TMJ, you may already know the cause: As much as 80% of TMJ sufferers report having ear complaints.

It’s easy to dismiss an ear issue as unrelated to TMJ, but jaw problems and ear problems are often related. Your ear is located at the same point where your jaw connects to your skull, so any issues with the alignment of the jaw can easily translate into pressure on the mechanisms of the ear.

THI Tracking for Tinnitus Treatment

Tinnitus is extremely different to measure, so being able to track and communicate the details of, severity of, and changes to your symptoms can be essential to communicating with medical health professionals and monitoring the effectiveness of treatment.

This is where the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory, or THI, comes in handy. The specific, numerically graded system allows you to quantify feelings that might otherwise be difficult to track, and is a self-reporting method commonly used by professionals in the field. You can fill out the PDF form online, or even print a copy and take it by hand if you prefer. The sum of your responses is your THI score. Scores have been divided into groups that range from “slight” to “catastrophic,” so it’s easy to convey the severity of your tinnitus.

You can take it any time, but experts recommend you take it monthly in order to have an effective picture of how your symptoms are changing (or not changing.)

TMJ Treatment Is Tinnitus Treatment

While tinnitus itself doesn’t have a standard, effective treatment, 80% of those who suffer from TMJ-induced tinnitus have reported that TMJ treatments reduced their tinnitus symptoms. In short, TMJ treatment is tinnitus treatment for many people.

If you’re tired of that ringing in your ears and think that TMJ might be responsible for your tinnitus, call (803) 781-9090 or contact Smile Columbia Dentistry online today to make an appointment with Columbia, SC TMJ dentist Dr. Adam Hahn.