SUDDEN SENSORINEURAL HEARING LOSS (SSH) AND TMJ DISORDERS

A new study, “Symptoms and signs of temporomandibular disorders in patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss” in the Swedish Dental Journal by showed that patients who experience sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSH) have higher rates of TMJ symptoms. The study concluded that this study shows that self-reported symptoms and clinical signs of TMD are more frequent in patients with SSH than in healthy controls. These patients had reported significantly higher rates of pain in the head and face region and pain during mandibular movements as well as of aural symptoms compared with the control group. Headaches and migraines are a frequent symptom of temporomandibular disorders as well as numerous ear symptoms. Subjective hearing loss, tinnitus, buzzing in the ears and ear stuffiness are frequent TMD symptoms. Dizziness, ear pain, sinus pain, preauriclar pain, dizziness and vertigo are also frequently related to TMJ disorders. TMJ disorders are frequently called the great imposter because they have so many diverse symptoms.

While headaches and facial have frequently been associated with TMJ disorders there is no cause and effect established between these disorders. Patients with TMJ disorders and chronic headaches can learn more about treating headaches with neuromuscular dentistry at http://www.ihateheadaches.org.

PubMed abstract
Swed Dent J. 2009;33(3):115-23.
Symptoms and signs of temporomandibular disorders in patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
Axelsson R, Tullberg M, Ernberg M, Hedenberg-Magnusson B.

Division of Prosthodontics, Department of Dental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden. rickard.axelsson@ki.se
Sudden sensorineural hearingloss (SSH) usually affects one ear and leads to life long deafness in some cases. There are many theories about the origin of the condition but the etiology and pathophysiology are still unknown. However, tinnitus and vertigo frequently occur in patients with SSH, but are also frequent symptoms reported by patients with temporomandibular disorders (TMD). We hypothesized that TMD symptoms and signs are frequent in SSH patients. The objective of this study was therefore to investigate the presence of TMD symptoms and signs in SSH patients compared with healthy individuals. The groups, matched by gender and age, consisted each of 9 females and 6 males. Both groups answered a questionnaire about TMD symptoms and a clinical examination which included maximum voluntary mouth opening, temporomandibular joint sounds, tenderness to digital palpation of the TMJs and selected masticatory muscles, intermaxillary relations and dental occlusion was performed. The SSH patients reported significantly higher rates of pain in the head and face region and pain during mandibular movements as well as of aural symptoms compared with the control group. There was also a statistically significant difference between the groups in the number of masticatory muscles tender to digital palpation, as well as in some occlusal variables. In conclusion, this study shows that self-reported symptoms and clinical signs of TMD are more frequent in patients with SSH than in healthy controls.

PMID: 19994561 [PubMed – in process]