Somatic Tinnitus: An Overview

As we know, tinnitus (ringing in the years) is the perception of a sound that has no external source. Somatic (or somatosensory) tinnitus happens when somatosensory (pressure, pain, or warmth) messages from the cervical spine or jaw area causes or changes the way a patient experiences tinnitus. In fact, a study from 2009 found there could be a link between tinnitus and musculoskeletal disorders. It was shown that the presence of joint stiffness, or myofascial trigger points, can cause somatosensory changes to the area around the ear, which may create the perception of a ringing in the ears.

Our friends over at Mend compiled a list of common musculoskeletal impairments that can be associated with tinnitus, they are:

  • Stiffness or hyper-mobility of cervical spine joints
  • Myofascial trigger points to the sub-occipitals, upper trapezius, levator scapulae, or sternocleidomastoid muscles
  • TMJ disorders
  • Presence of forward head posture and forward rounded shoulders

What to do if you think you have tinnitus

If you think you may be experiencing somatic tinnitus, worry not, we’ve got you covered. The best treatment for tinnitus starts with a tinnitus evaluation and consultation with us. At Longmont Hearing and Tinnitus Center, we will conduct a comprehensive evaluation to determine whether or not you are experiencing tinnitus. If we find that you do have tinnitus, we can help! First of all, it’s important to understand that tinnitus is not a disease, but a symptom of a more serious disorder. That’s why it’s important to try to find the medical cause before deciding on treatment. But first, let’s determine whether you have tinnitus in the first place, and we can take it from there.

If you are diagnosed with tinnitus and you are also suffering from one of the musculoskeletal impairments above, physical therapy may help reduce or eliminate the perception of tinnitus. There is strong evidence to support the use of physical therapy to treat somatic tinnitus that is of musculoskeletal origin. The therapists over at Mend are trained in differential diagnosis, which means they can accurately screen you to give you the right referral for treating whatever ails you.

And here at Longmont Hearing a Tinnitus Center, after diagnosis, we can also help you by providing you with tips for how to prevent or minimize tinnitus, like tinnitus retraining therapy, acoustic therapy, music therapy, amplification, and much more! We know that tinnitus can be cumbersome and hard to live with, so don’t delay! Reach out to us today so that we can help get your tinnitus under control!

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