Ear-Nose and Throat Doctor (ENT) Questions TMJ

Are these crackling sounds in my ear from TMJ?

I had TMJ issues a few years ago and am wondering if the effects are still lingering. When I open my mouth wide or yawn, there is a pop in my jaw and I hear crackling in my ear on the affected side. Is this normal to experience this so long after TMJ issues? Is there anything I can do to fix it or will I have this forever?

10 Answers

Very common in TMJ disease. Do you use a night guard? Find a good dentist that knows about the disease so you can be helped. It is not a medical problem.
TMJ noise is not a symptom which requires treatment in and of itself. If there is associated pain, locking, or decreased range of motion, evaluation is indicated. Possibly an MRI. Most TMJ symptoms can be treated with dietary modification, i.e. no hard foods, candies, etc, no gum chewing, no howling, splint therapy (mouthguard), mild analgesics (ibuprofen). More severe problems require evaluation by oral surgeon
Yes the sounds in your ear are most likely from the TMJ problems, this joint that connects your face to the jaw is located right in front of the ear canal and ear drum. When it is inflamed, noises can be transmitted to the ear, usually producing popping or crackling sounds like you describe. TMJ problems are unfortunately chronic, similar to arthritis, but you can prevent worsening by reducing inflammation in the area and splinting the joint so that the muscles do not stay overworked (similar principles as treating arthritis elsewhere). The best way to splint the joint is to get a custom dental night guard; some patients even need a day guard if TMJ is severe. You should see a dentist that specializes in TMJ (TMJ specialist) because they make the best guards. Over the counter dental guards are not as good quality and can hurt you if they do not fit properly. Other things to do: avoid chewing gum, eat softer foods. During acute episodes of pain (which can be felt in the ear and jaw area), use warm compresses. Getting a massage also helps. If you are in good health and your doctors have not told you otherwise, you can use over the counter ibuprofen or naproxen for up to a week at at time to help acute episodes. Take these medications with lots of water and food. TMJ problems typically worsen with stress/anxiety and dental issues, so addressing these issues will help as well.

Dr. S
Yes. tmj issues can be chronic. The tmj anatomically is next to the ear canal. Thus, frequently cracking and popping sounds can be heard in the ear. The question is what is causing the tmj. Teeth grinding/clinching? Dental procedures or manipulations ? Chewing gum/ hard candy? Stress? All can be factors. Treatment is available and does help. Simple anti inflammatory such as Motrin, warm compresses, dental soft diet, short term steroids such as prednisone. There are mouth guards and/or oral appliances that can be purchased or fitted to your teeth/mouth. Often these are available from dentists.
Hope this helps!
Likely this is still the TMJ issue. These are often chronic problems that flare-up from time to time. Sometimes people need to have oral appliances adjusted, have more therapy, etc.
TMJ is an inflammation of the temporomandibular joint. Like other joints in the body, you can experience a short term or a long term problem (including arthritis) with the joint. Popping of the jaw is common in patients who suffer from temporomandibular joint dysfunction. You should be evaluated by an experienced professional who can guide you on options to help relieve your symptoms. Some of these can include bite guards to avoid grinding your teeth at night, antiinflammatories, or a soft diet. A professional who is experienced in TMJ can study your anatomy and help guide you in the right direction.
Well TMJ is associated with pain,,,the crackling noise can be anything from Eustation tube dysfunction like you get with a cold,,,,,,to wax in proximity to the Tympanic membrane ,,,,to exfoliated membrane on the ear drum,,,,,,,have to see the ear,,,ear canal or drum to really exclude some things
TMJ problems tend to be chronic. Symptoms may come and go but can flareup months or years later. It would be best to see a TMJ specialist for a full evaluation and an answer to your other questions.
It likely could be your jaw "popping" that is causing the sound. Another option could be that you have a lot of wax in your ear. When you move your jaw the shape of your ear canal changes s tiny amount. If your ear is filled with wax, then this wax can plug up when your ear canal changes shape and cause a crackling or popping in your ear. Most likely the tm joint though. If someone looks in ear with otoscope and your ear is completely clear of wax, then most likely tmj.
That's completely normal, and if not painful there is nothing to do about it. Most of the time you just get used to it.