Somatic or Cervicogenic Tinnitus

TemporoMandibular Jaw (TMJ) and neck problems can easily cause pain and tinnitus called somatic tinnitus. It’s estimated 36 to 43% of people with tinnitus have somatic tinnitus caused by physical problems in the jaw, neck or cervical spine. Symptoms can include clicking in the jaw, headaches, tingling, imbalance, etc.

Michiels et al. (2016) did a systematic review of studies on physiotherapy for neck and TemporoMandibular Disorder (TMD) treatment. They found physiotherapy gave significant benefit for making tinnitus less severe.

Treatments included manipulations, trigger point treatment, neck or jaw exercises, splints and bite adjustments. Although results looked positive, more research was recommended with larger sample sizes, current high tech treatments, better criteria for including subjects, and better consistent tinnitus outcome measures.

If people have tinnitus and jaw or neck pain, a physiotherapy evaluation could be helpful to see if the problem is actually somatic tinnitus, best treated by physiotherapy. This is especially true for people with jaw or neck problems and tinnitus that isn’t helped by traditional tinnitus treatments.

Michiels, S., Naessens, S., Van de Heyning, P., Braem, M., Visscher, C. M., Gilles, A. & De Hertogh, W. (2016, Nov 29). The Effect of Physical Therapy Treatment in Patients with Subjective Tinnitus: A Systematic Review. Front. Neurosci. Retrieved from

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