Tinnitus is defined as the perception of sound in the absence of corresponding external acoustic stimuli. There is a difference between subjective and objective tinnitus. Subjective (somatic) tinnitus is a phantom phenomenon and is heard only by the patient.
Objective tinnitus can be described as a condition in which noises are generated in the body and transmitted to the ear, for example, via spasms of the tensor tympanic membrane muscle. It is audible to another person, like a sound coming from the ear canal. Severe tinnitus is usually associated with depression, anxiety and insomnia.
This article will only focus on somatosensory tinnitus. The information contained is provided for informational purposes. Currently, osteopathy has not provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate total effectiveness on this type of tinnitus. Under no circumstances can the information replace medical advice.
Cases of somatosensory tinnitus are linked to tensions in the craniocervical region more than to a dysfunction of the auditory apparatus.
These are caused by dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), problems associated with post-traumatic malocclusion and muscular tensions of the jaw that cause long term tinnitus.
The articulation of the jaw in this condition,
Theoretically, the conditions of TMJ could cause a dysfunction in the middle ear via anatomical connections existing between these structures. But recent anatomical studies do not confirm the possibility of triggering the movements of the ossicles of the middle ear by traction of the diverse ligaments of this joint.
Thanks to the shared enervation with the trigeminal nerve, the neuromuscular dysfunction of the masticator muscles can cause a hypertonia reflex of the middle ear muscles as well as a myoclonus (rapid muscular contraction, weak and involuntary) of the palate that can be responsible for tinnitus.
The appearance of somatosensory tinnitus is linked to one or more of the following factors:
- Cranial and/or cervical trauma,
- Dental, cervical or jaw manipulations,
- Chronic pain of the head, the neck or the pectoral girdle,
- Simultaneous increase of tinnitus and the associated pain,
- Incorrect posture at rest, when walking, at work or during sleep,
- Diurnal and/or nocturnal bruxism.
CRANIAL OSTEOPATHY: Cranial osteopathy is a very gentle and slow method. It is used to assess and treat the mobility of the skull, especially in infants for functional plagiocephaly.
JOINT MOBILIZATION: Articular osteopathy consists of gently mobilizing two articular surfaces. It is used to relieve muscle spasms, gain joint mobility and reduce pain and discomfort.
The exact mechanisms are not well known and the bibliography does not offer real proof of the efficiency of the various therapies that are currently offered. However, the existence of this type of tinnitus confirms the need for a multi-disciplinary approach.
The minute exploration and a well-aimed intervention by various specialists can improve the quality of care for patients suffering from tinnitus.
NOTE: This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical healthcare professional.