Tinnitus or “ringing” in only one ear can be caused by a brain tumor, but what about TMJ disorder as a potential cause of unilateral ringing in the ear?

“The muscles and ligaments that surround the TM joint are intricately connected with the ear and the nerves that support the ear,” explains Dr. Idan Snapir, DDS, of the Dental Smile Center in Van Nuys, CA.

“When TMJ pain messages are sent to the brain, they cross the nerve pathway of the inner ear,” continues Dr. Snapir.

“This can result in frequent muscle contraction and misalignment of the three small inner ear bones.”

As a result, the sufferer of TMJ disorder may experience tinnitus in one ear: the one on the side of the jaw that’s malfunctioning enough.

Tinnitus is typically referred to as “ringing in the ears.” But the actual ringing is not like a bell, but often a persistent high pitched tone or hissing noise.

Some people describe it as buzzing or whistling. It can also be of a crackling or tinkling nature.

It’s a sound that only the patient can hear.

Sometimes the “ringing” is a lower pitched tone which may be loud enough to be described as a roar.

Tinnitus in one ear has many possible causes, but this is a symptom that is NEVER “all in a person’s head.”

Mental stress can make it worse, but tinnitus is a physical symptom of a physical ailment — and TMJ disorder is one possible culprit.

Dr. Snapir adds, “Also, the medial pterygoid jaw muscle is closely associated with the small eardrum muscle. So the brain may misinterpret TMJ for ear pain.”

What about a brain tumor?

As for a brain tumor being a potential cause of tinnitus in only one ear, there is a type of growth called acoustic neuroma that often presents with unilateral “ringing.” Read more about this brain tumor HERE.

For many years Dr. Snapir has promoted dental health, treated TMJ disorder, created beautiful smiles and improved the overall well-being of thousands of patients. He will customize the best possible treatment plan for every patient.