Tinnitus itself is not considered to be a medical condition, but rather a symptom of another condition that someone is suffering from. As you may know, tinnitus is when you have ringing in your ears. You could also be hearing other sounds like whistling and buzzing as well. However, there is an actual condition called somatic tinnitus which occurs when the body’s sensory system is malfunctioning and then causing your tinnitus to get worse. You will hear the same kinds of ringing, whistling or buzzing sounds as you do with tinnitus, but for a different reason.
We all have muscles in our tongue, face, arms, neck, trunk, and head which have their own sensors. These sensors generate sensory signals, or somatic signals, which we normally don’t hear. However, if the big “sternocleidomastoid muscle” which exists under the ear were to spasm or become unusually stressed, then it could cause tinnitus to form. This could happen from something as simple as sleeping on a pillow or bending your neck down to look at something.
The Top 2 Symptoms
Before you learn about the treatments of somatic tinnitus, let’s examine the symptoms of the condition. Below are the top 2 symptoms of somatic tinnitus.
- Modified Resonance – If you turn your head or move your jaw and you notice the sounds in your ears getting more intense, then you definitely have somatic tinnitus. Press the lower jawbone, temples, neck, or cheeks and you should hear a change in the pitch as well.
- Muscular Tension – If your neck and jaw have a lot of muscular tension and you’re hearing sounds in your ears, then you probably have somatic tinnitus.
The Top 6 Treatments & Excersices
There is no known cure for somatic tinnitus. All you can do is partake in treatments which alleviate the symptoms. Some sufferers undergoing treatments have gotten to a point where they don’t hear the sounds continuously anymore. If you want the same for yourself, you just need to keep working at it.
Below are the top 6 treatments for somatic tinnitus.
- Relaxing the Muscles – Since spasmed and stressed neck and head muscles tend to cause somatic tinnitus, the best way to get relief from the sounds in your ears is to relax these muscles. You could either massage the muscles yourself or have someone else do it for you.
- Biofeedback – If you have the right doctor or science laboratory with the right equipment, you can study the physiological functions of the sensory muscles and the signals which they send.
- Stretching – Stretching is an important exercise to do, no matter if you regularly workout or not. Stretching has the ability to loosen up the muscles in the body, especially if they are normally stiff and tense. If you can stretch your neck muscles effectively, you can reduce the intensity of somatic tinnitus.
- Jaw Exercises – There are jaw exercises you can perform to reduce the tension in your jaw muscles. An easy one is to open your mouth as wide as you can for 30 seconds and then close. Another exercise to do lateral movements with your jaw, where you slide it to the right as far as it can go and then to the left. If you feel pain doing any of these exercises, then stop.
- Bite Guards – The main objective is to reduce the tension which exists in your jaw muscles. This has been clinically proven to reduce the severity of somatic tinnitus. Bite guards are a great way to relax these muscles and stop them from being involuntarily overworked.
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation – This is a rare treatment where a doctor will hook electrodes to the skin near the ear. This sends a current into your ear muscles which is like an artificial somatic signal that helps reduce your symptoms of somatic tinnitus.