Tinnitus (Ear Ringing) Treatment in Richmond 

Another term for tinnitus is ear ringing. While not a condition as such, it is a symptom of many conditions, including migraines, ear problems, previous trauma and temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ dysfunction or TMD). At our Richmond dental clinic, we provide tinnitus treatment to help patients stop the ringing in their ears.

What is tinnitus? 

Tinnitus is when people hear sounds or noises in their ears, when there are no external noises or sounds present. Approximately 15-20% of Australians live with some degree of ringing of the ears, ranging from mild to severe for a small number of cases.

What are the sounds associated with tinnitus? 

Some of the most common sounds people living with tinnitus experience include:

  • buzzing
  • whistling
  • ringing
  • humming
  • roaring.

Did you know? 

The word tinnitus comes from the Latin for ‘tinkling or ringing like a bell’. Given the sounds experienced by people living with the condition, it’s a pretty appropriate word.

Causes of tinnitus 

People experience ringing ears because of:

  • previous or current trauma or stress
  • ongoing prior exposure to loud noises
  • natural degeneration of hair cells in the cochlea (a component of the inner ear)
  • ear problems such as Meniere’s disease or otosclerosis
  • temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD or TMJ dysfunction)
  • the effects of some medications.

Effects of tinnitus 

When people first experience the ear ringing symptoms associated with the condition, they may find them impacting their life quite significantly. Patients can experience:

  • depression
  • distress
  • poor concentration
  • sleep problems
  • irritability, tension or frustration
  • mood swings or anxiety attacks.

When first exposed to tinnitus, we recommend consulting us to learn as much as you can about the condition. We will also perform a complete examination to rule out no underlying conditions which may require further attention.

Adapting to tinnitus 

When people adapt to the sounds and the effects of ringing of the ears, they no longer have an unpleasant or negative response to them. This adaptation is called habituation, and when people habituate, they:

  • won’t have a negative emotional association with the effects of tinnitus 
  • should notice improvements in sleep, concentration, depression and anxiety 
  • may occasionally notice some ear ringing symptoms, particularly if they’re stressed or tired.

An example of human habituation is when people move to a house near a train line. They hear the noise for a few days, but they are used to the new sounds within a week or so. The same applies to habituation to ear ringing for people living with tinnitus.

Managing tinnitus 

People living with ringing in the ears can learn to manage their symptoms so they no longer cause them trouble. People need to:

  • keep busy and focus on exciting and pleasant activities
  • work out that the sounds they’re hearing are not harmful
  • normalise their lives and not let the sounds of ringing ears stop them from living their best lives
  • overcome their worries and fears of tinnitus.

When people want to make their experience of tinnitus less impactful, they may need to avoid:

  • constantly monitoring their sound levels
  • feeling guilty about not managing their condition
  • angry feelings about the condition
  • talking about it all the time.

What can our Richmond dentists do to help with tinnitus relief? 

Our Richmond dental clinic has a separate treatment program, especially for people experiencing tinnitus coming out from TMJ dysfunction. The treatment program involves:

  • appliance therapy (use of mouthguards)
  • laser therapy
  • occlusal equilibration procedures
  • orthodontic appliances
  • chiropractic treatments.

Some of our experienced Richmond Fine Dentistry dentists operate the TMJ Relief Clinic, where patients living with TMJ dysfunction receive these personalised treatment programs. These programs aim to reduce or eliminate symptoms of TMJ dysfunction, including tinnitus. 

First-time patients 

People coming to our TMJ Relief Clinic for the first time will consult with one of our skilled dentists. The dentist will perform a detailed and comprehensive review of their medical and dental history. To arrive at a conclusive diagnosis of tinnitus and TMJ dysfunction, our dentist will also perform a physical examination of the teeth, oral cavity and facial muscles. Our dentist may also take medical images of the teeth, ear area and head if needed. 

Are there other options? 

As a last resort, our TMJ Relief Clinic programs can involve surgery to reduce or eliminate tinnitus symptoms. Maxillofacial surgery is invasive, and we will consider it if traditional, more conservative treatment options haven’t reduced or eliminated symptoms.