There is a lot of speculation surrounding wisdom teeth and their potential connection to tinnitus. Many think that the two may be related, while others claim that there is no connection at all and that tinnitus is a symptom of other underlying problems.
There is currently no scientific evidence to support the claim that wisdom teeth causes tinnitus, although it is still possible. One theory suggest that the teeth may press on the surrounding nerves, putting pressure on the inner ear and causing tinnitus. However, Murray Grossan, an otolaryngologist and expert in the treatment of TMJ discomfort and tinnitus, have concluded that an impacted wisdom teeth does not cause tinnitus.
Another hypothesis for a relation between wisdom teeth and tinnitus is that the sound is simply caused by the grinding of the teeth.
Issues with temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull, can also cause tinnitus. TMJ can be caused by a variety of conditions including bruxism (grinding or clenching of the teeth), arthritis of the joint, and trauma to the area.
What is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a condition described as ringing in the ear, although many have also reported other sounds including buzzing, clicking, hissing and whistling. The noise vary in loudness, pitch and duration; some also hear it in either or both of the ear.
The condition affects approximately 50 million adults in the U.S., equivalent to 25% of the country’s adult population. For most cases, tinnitus is nothing more than mere annoyance and is often dealt with by simply getting used to it. In severe cases, tinnitus becomes a debilitating condition and can lead to loss of concentration, sleeping difficulty, and depression.
Tinnitus can be caused by:
- Exposure to loud noises for a prolonged period
- Infection in the middle ear
- Build-up of earwax
- Hearing loss due to old age
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
- Meniere’s disease, a disorder of the inner ear that causes vertigo
- Side effects from mediciation
- High or low blood pressure
There are many available treatment for tinnitus, albeit most of it seek to relief the condition rather than eradicating it. Some of the methods include:
- The use of hearing aids or devices to deliver a pleasant sound and mask the sound caused by tinnitus
- Relaxation techniques such as meditation to deal with the frustration that comes with the condition
- Counselling to help patients better cope with tinnitus
- Physical therapy or surgery if the condition is caused by dental-related problems or TMJ
Tinnitus After Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Many have reported experiencing tinnitus after their wisdom teeth are removed. An explanation for the development of tinnitus is the bruising of the area which puts pressure on a nerve. Another possible reason is tension in the neck musculature; this form of tinnitus is also known as “somatic tinnitus”. That said, in most cases, the condition subsided after a few days and posed no further problem.
In fact, people suffering from tinnitus have reported that the ringing sound have went down or disappeared completely after a wisdom teeth surgery.
The cause of tinnitus is still unknown, but it seems to be caused by various factors including noise exposure, medication use, and health issues. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. To reduce the chances of getting tinnitus, avoid exposure to loud noises even for a short period. Whenever possible, use ear protection to protect your hearing.