Can TMJ ruin hearing?

My jaw was broken 40yrs ago. I had no money to set it properly. Now i am in my 60's and I have been diagnosed with TMJ Disorder. I began complaining of ear infection because my ears hurt and my hearing was greatly decreased. I felt like I was in a tunnel; people sounded far away when they talked to me. I also get headaches, jaw pain, popping ears and ear ache. Whenever I go out my hearing decreases. After a few days at home I can hear a little better but never clear. As soon as I go out again the ears get muffled again.

It has been 3months now. The doctors say I have no ear infection at all. My ears are filling with fluid because of TMD. I was placed on soft food diet, told to apply heat, and stop singing at church for awhile. One month of this protocol and no change in my condition. So I was referred to a dentist who said I needed a splint for at least 10 months and if I don't do something soon I could lose my hearing altogether.

Have you seen anything like this in your practice? Is it true I could lose my hearing? Can your mouth guard keep my ears from filling with fluid? Will I be able to go outside and sing again without my ears filling up? Should I wear the guard all day to reset my jaw?


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Apr 20, 2012
Broken jaw/hearing loss?
by: Dr. Spainhower

Typically TMJ does not cause fluid in the ears, so i really can't diagnose that symptom without seeing your xrays.

However, if indeed your symptoms are caused by TMJ, then you can help troubleshoot your problem by reducing the clenching and grinding. Wearing a splint for 10 months is not typical to do TMJ therapy with a splint. If you have a well adjusted splint, ypu should see results after only days and maybe a few weeks tops. The problem do ypo find a TMJ splint that works for you. The OTC night guards are inexpensive, but, you don't get personal assistance. you may need to wear a t m j splint 24/7. Trying a OTC night guard is acceptable. If it/they don't work, then you can see the TMJ Dentist.

I would recommend trying the RCM Double arch guard. I'll send you a smartguard elite also to use. If either of those don't work for you, then the TMJ Appliance may work, but it isn't very comfortable, though many people do like it, and it does reduce night time pressure in the joint. If you order that one i can send you the smartguard elite as well.

Email me at DrSpainhower at to keep in touch as you have questions.


Dr. Spainhower

Sent by my Droid.

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