Oral Surgery/Ringing


QUESTION: For the last couple weeks I've been noticing that when I chew on hard food, or clench my jaw I get a sharp high ringing sound in my ears. Do you have any idea what this is or could be? Could this be the beggining of tmjd and is it going to get worse? It also happens if I stretch my neck, tucking my jaw into my neck or chest, both make the exact same sound. And finally yesterday my right ear started ringing super loud for no apparent reason, so I'd clench my jaw knowing this brought it on, and it would cancel it, but as soon as I stopped clenching it slowly faded back in to full strength, then eventually stopped (5 or so minutes) and now I'm back to creating the sound by clenching, stretching chin to neck. Going nuts, please help.

ANSWER: Matthew -  Of course without examining you I cannot be completely sure, but from your symptoms, it seems that you are suffering from spasms of the jaw muscles.  When in spasm, there is no period of rest for the jaw joint or the muscles.  The jaw is always creating pressure within the jaw joint, lying just in front of the ear.  This constant pressure can produce inflammation and internal swelling; this can produce the effects in the ear that you describe.  

You need to have yourself examined by a skilled doctor-preferably a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon.  Relaxation of the muscles takes time.  Usually the doctor will fabricate a simple device you wear that does not allow you to bite down completely and that allows the jaw muscles to relax.  In addition, muscle relaxing medication, warm salt water rinses and warm moist compresses to the jaw will help begine the relaxation.  

So you need to find a knowledgeable doctor near you to help.  If you need the name of a doctor. Get back to me, tell me where you live and I will try to find an appropriate doctor near you.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I'll gladly take you up on your offer to find a suitable well trained/experienced oral maxofacial surgeon, or Tmj specialist in my area, and cannot thank you enough for even offering to do such a task (without even being get paid to do so!) thank you. My area is Woodstock, Ontario, Canada.

Thank you again. Dr.Teig.
Your help is greatly appreciated.

Tinnitus sufferer,

PS. It's now become constant 24 hours a day, always changing in volume, and different pitches depending on position / exercise.

Walking makes it louder, 8 hours of sound sleep makes it less, eating makes it louder, with no correlation to what I eat, just the act of eating.

Matthew - Without examining you I cannot be sure that might supposition that muscular problems might be the source of the problem, but I think being evaluated by a board certified orfal and maxillofacial surgeon is a good place to start and being properly evaluated.

The following are surgeons not far from you.

1) Dr. William Abbott - (519) 433-8333 - New London, Ontario

2) Dr. Hy Goldberg - (519) 433 - 8333 - New London, Ontario

I wish you well and hope these doctors can help to arrive at the source of the recurrent ringing that you are suffering from.

Oral Surgery

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicing for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor at State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA- University of Connecticut DMD-University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Residency - Roosevelt Hospital, NYC

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.