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can loud noise aggravate tmj symptoms?

hello. i've been diagnosed with tmj. had it for many years. i am wondering if anyone has had the same experience i have...perhaps once a year i am in a situation which is LOUD and when i say loud i mean within the realms of normal but definitely excessive. i am usually good about wearing earplugs to preserve my hearing but you know, once a year or so i'll be in a situation where i don't have them, wasn't expecting a loud night, whatever. so two weeks ago i was at a club for a birthday party with many other people (none of whom seemed really bothered by the loud sound levels making me think perhaps tmj makes my ears more sensitive). i woke up the next day with a rotating cast of tmj symptoms including ear fullness, ear pain, ear ringing (wild oscillating noises at points), crackling and crunching sounds and sensations when opening and closing my jaw....two weeks later i'm still in quite a lot of pain, feel congested, having trouble sleeping due to the noises in my ears. the previous two times this has happened the symptoms have eventually subsided but until they actually stop it's really frustrating and depressing but i'm wondering if i'm crazy and loud noise wouldn't be an aggravating factor anyway. thank you for any input!
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replied May 6th, 2012
Experienced User
Hia,

I'm a person with the full range of severe TMJ symptoms, including all the usual suspects plus hyperacusis (hearing sounds louder than they really are), tinnitus and light sensitivity. These last three are rarer as TMJ go but do exist.

I haven't had your exact experience but loud sounds do set off muscle spasms in my ears and make my tinnitus worse.

In general, I find that all the symptoms are connected because for a large part it's a muscular syndrome. All the muscles of the face, jaw, head and neck (including eyes and ears) are connected - they don't exist in isolation. So when, for example, something happens in the jaw, it will affect those muscles that it connects to in the ear and affect them as well. Likewise, if something happense in the ear, it makes sense that muscles could be affected in the jaw.

I'm not a medical professional by any means, but this is just how I see it and have experienced it.

Hope you feel better soon,

Melissa

PS: As I've begun to heal through a repositional splint (a permanent, lower one), the muscular tension has descreased and my symptoms are slowly improving. I've also supplemented with other types of therapies like acupuncture for the jaw. I'm now just got my braces on for a couple days, so we'll see how that goes!
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replied May 19th, 2012
TMJ Disorder
Hi,

I too suffer from TMD, and have experienced similar symptoms. Typically, loud sounds (engines, loud speech, etc.) will seem amplified in my one ear relative to my other. This was actually the second symptom that I noticed. The first was a persistent feeling of fullness following rapid changes in air pressure. I've also found that said noises can worsen my tinnitus and significantly amplify the sense of "ear-fullness" for many days. I was actually around a gunshot 10 days ago when my !**@! friend felt firing a gun off near me (knowing my aversion to loud noise) was a suitable joke, and that triggered ear spasms and variable tinnitus in conjunction with said spasms that is only now reducing noticeably. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only TMD sufferer that has experienced these phenomenon. I too have often wondered if I'm just losing my mind when I experience these symptoms and get the usual "I don't know, it could be." from medical professionals.

Sean
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