Tinnitus and pressure on the head: what can it be?

Expert answer:

Tinnitus and head pressure may be symptoms of dysfunction in the jaw joint, also known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It is not yet clear why ATM disorders cause buzz, but it is believed that there is some neurological relationship between the masticatory muscles and the muscles of the ear. Another explanation suggests that tinnitus is caused by excessive clenching of chewing muscles, as in bruxism, which can compress some areas near the ears and generate tinnitus.

The sensation of head pressure is caused by excessive contraction of the masticatory muscles, which can also cause constant or intermittent headaches, such as in migraines.

Others symptoms of jaw joint dysfunction include a stuffy ear, a headache on waking, pain in the ear, eyes or muscles of the face, cracking when closing or opening the mouth, pain when opening the mouth too much, jaw that leaves the place or locking, changes in the fit of the teeth, among others.

The causes for TMJ dysfunctions are not yet fully understood, but it is known that they may originate in emotional factors or psychological, such as anxiety, stress, depression, besides dental malocclusion, facial deformities or even postural and muscular alterations.

Treatment depends on what is causing the problem, and may include physical therapy, muscle relaxant medications, analgesics and anti-inflammatories, surgery or the use of silicone plaques in the mouth.

It is important to remember that tinnitus can also be a symptom of labyrinthitis, deafness, diabetes, high blood pressure, and many other causes.

Learn more at: Ringing in the ear: what can it be?

Consult a general practitioner, family doctor or go directly to an otolaryngologist for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.