Most people know that stress is a big trigger for people with Tinnitus.
But not everyone realizes that stress also works its way into our bodies as physical muscle tension. It can cause a lot of aches and pains, but when it gets into our jaw muscles, it can cause our Tinnitus to spike.
It’s certainly not an issue for everyone, but if you tense the muscles around your lower jaw, you may see what I’m talking about. When I get stressed I tend to clench my jaw quite a bit and I don’t even realize I’m doing it. It’s known as bruxism. And it’s a big issue for people with TMJ as well.
It’s still somewhat unclear why jaw tension causes Tinnitus to spike, but scientists are starting to unravel the mystery. There are somatosensory nerves around your lower jaw that project to the Dorsal Cochlear Nucleus (DCN), which is the part of your brain responsible for locating a sound in your environment.
Some scientists believe this may be where Tinnitus first arises in the brain. But at the very least, the research appears to show that the DCN is connected with Tinnitus in some way.
When your jaw muscles are tense, you are stimulating the nerves, and as a result there is an increase in activity in the DCN that can cause a spike in your Tinnitus.
But you can relieve some of your jaw tension by practicing this simple technique.
How to Relax your Jaw Muscles:
Step 1: Take several deep breaths
Step 2: Close your mouth and press your tongue firmly into the center of the roof of your mouth. This will cause your teeth to separate a little bit. Keep your lips together.
Step 3: Relax your tongue and consciously let all of your jaw muscles relax. Hold this for as long as you would like.
Repeat: The more often you practice this technique throughout the day, the less tension you will hold in your jaw muscles. It can also help you to become more aware of when you’re clenching your teeth.