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Is pressure and pain in my ears due to TMJ?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1998
Answered : 1579 Questions
I am 39 and healthy. I have recently been diagnosed with TMJ. The doctor has fitted me with day and night splints. I feel better with the jaw pain, but have a lot of muscular pain in my cheeks and lower jaw. Now I have MAJOR issues with my ears. They react to air conditioning and any sort of pressure, such as driving in the car. They feel full, plugged and I constantly have to clear them, and they hurt, then my temples pound from the pressure. It happens when I change temperatures, pressures and environments. I have had to cancel air travel as I am concerned to fly and get no answers from my doctors. Please help. I was misdiagnosed with sinus issues and ear infections prior to the TMJ diagnosis for months, but had NO issue with the ears as I do now. I walk from outdoors to indoors and immediately have pressure and pain. I live in the south so I have to be able to deal with air conditioning.
Posted Wed, 25 Apr 2012 in TMJ
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 1 hour later

Thanks for posting your query. I can understand your concern. What you seem to be having is Eustachian tube blockage. For each ear, a eustachian tube runs from the middle ear to the back of the throat and when this tube is blocked then it may cause fluid build up in ear and infections.

Enlarged adenoids can often cause an obstruction of this tube. Hence enlarged adenoids have to be probed thoroughly. If they are enlarged they have to be removed and in the process the tonsils are also removed so that they do not pose a problem later on.

The other causes of Eustachian tube blockage are temporomandicular joint disorder (which you are already having), allergies, glue ear and masses or tumors in the skull base.

Since you have been diagnosed with ENT specialist for these possibilities.

For TMJ disorder, it is good that you have started using the day and night splints. In addition, biofeedback instrument such as a biofeedback headband also helps at night. Reconstructibe dentistry, arthrocentesis (joint irrigation), surgical repositoning of jaws and oral surgery (as last resort) can also be tried.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.

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