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Tinnitus is characterized by a consistent noise in the ears, even though no external noise is present. The most common sounds heard by tinnitus patients include ringing, buzzing, clicking, hissing, roaring and whistling. Although tinnitus may be caused by a variety of conditions, two of the most common are muscle spasms of the head or neck and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. If your tinnitus is caused by one of these conditions, there are certain jaw exercises you can do to help alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus.
One of the most recommended exercises for tinnitus involves stretching the sternocleidomastoid muscle, which runs from the back of the ear down to the collar bone. To relax this muscle, the patient should lower the shoulders, tilt the head upward and pull the jaw in. It may take a few attempts to stretch the correct muscle. However, once the correct muscle is stretched, the tinnitus often disappears within a few minutes.
If the tinnitus is caused by TMJ syndrome, there are a variety of jaw exercises that should help increase the flexibility of the jaw. Each exercise should be repeated ten times for best results. For the вЂњassisted openingвЂќ exercise, open your mouth slightly and place two fingers on the lower front teeth. Slowly open your mouth as wide as comfortable while gently pressing down with your fingers. For the вЂњresisted openingвЂќ exercise, cup your chin with your palm and open your jaw slowly. Use your palm to gently resist the movement. For the вЂњmidline exercise,вЂќ use a mirror to view the position of your two center teeth as you bite your teeth together. Watch these two teeth as you slowly open your mouth. Try to keep the lower jaw centered as you open your mouth. For the вЂњlateral movementвЂќ exercise, open your jaw about one inch wide. Gently shift the lower jaw to the right, without opening the jaw any more. Then, return to the center and gently shift the lower jaw to the left.
In some cases, jaw exercises will not be able to help with the symptoms of tinnitus. Tinnitus may be caused by a variety of conditions, including hearing loss, a buildup of earwax, Meniere's disease, head and neck tumors and high blood pressure. Tinnitus may even be a side effect of certain medications. Unfortunately, these causes of tinnitus will likely not be improved by jaw exercises. Before a proper treatment regimen can be suggested, it is extremely important to have a hearing test and ear examination done to determine the exact cause of tinnitus.