Tonic Tensor Tympani Syndrome

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Hello,

This is something I found out about recently and may be the cause of some of you with tinitus problems. Apparently not all GPs have heard of it. The tenor tympani muscle is a tiny muscle in the middle ear. It reacts to sudden loud noises called the startle reflex.

It can be caused by high stress and/or upper cervical spine problems. It can also be the result of tempormandibulor joint problems. People who work in noisy environments are affected. Symptoms are:

Tinnitus

Pain or dull ache in ear and along side of neck and cheek

Numbness or burning around ear, cheek and neck

Feeling of fullness in ear

Muffled hearing

Balance problems

Nausea

Headaches

Noise sensitivity

Vertigo

TTTS can cause high levels of anxiety which can lead to tinnitus escalation.

There is a lot of literature on the Internet, may be worth a look.

Good luck.

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Very interesting to hear of this, is there a cure/treatment for TTTS? I seem to have all of the suggested symptoms, am waiting to see a consultant about my problems so will have to see if he/she has heard of this.

    Robin

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    • Posted

      Hi rob,

      From what I have read, in people with TTTS, there is a link between their emotional state and their resulting middle ear muscle contractions. It's a psychosomatic condition. TTTS symptoms are subjective and can cause high levels of anxiety. This can lead to tinnitus escalation. (This is from the web, not me being clever)

      It's a bit ironic, people with TTTS end up with tinnitus and/or/hyperacusis/misophonia as a result of exposure to loud sounds, whereas those people whose tinnitus/hyperacusis was not the result of exposure to loud sounds are likely to have TTTS.

      I don't think there is a quick fix, it says the main thing is to seek treatment for tinnitus i.e., Correct any ear wax; Correct any hearing loss i.e., Antibiotics if need be; hearing aids; sound therapy i.e., Leaving radio on and listening to outside noises; counselling; CBT; tinnitus retraining therapy.

      Self help: relaxation; listen to music; sleep hygiene; hobbies and activities; support groups.

      The emphasis is sorting the tinnitus which is the irony. There are lots of testimonials on the web to read.

      I too have the symptoms of TTTS and I have neck osteoarthritis. I am going to try some of the therapies and try to relax and stop worrying about it.

      Regards

      Jayn

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    • Posted

      Hi jayn

      I have either already tried or am presently trying out the various self treatments and have to agree that to Stop Worrying is possibly the main one to get to grips with. 

      All the best to you and let us all know if you find the magical cure.

      Robin

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  • Posted

    So can TTS cause off balance / dizziness? I get off balance and lots of head rushes when bending over and standing up. Sometimes even walking i get off balance. But i know for a fact I have this problem. The upper cervical doctor wants to send me to a neurologist, but swears that i just have to deal with my ears.
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    • Posted

      Hi angeltrue,

      Firstly, I am no expert, I just did some research on line whilst trying to find the cause of my own problems.

      There are various causes of TTTS, but the cause that interests me is that it can be caused by:

      TMJ problems and/or upper cervical spine problems specifically C1 and C2 vertebrae being out of proper alignment. These two problems are often related and can occur together. For instance, whiplash in a vehicle can cause both TM J and cervical spine problems, at the same time. This can cause pressure being put on nerves and other body structures affecting your middle ear as a result of TM J problems.

      I have not had whiplash but I believe walking a friend's dog for two years, constantly pulling on his leash and the fact that I have cervical spondylosis and TMJ may have contributed to TTTS. I have not been diagnosed, still waiting for ENT appointment.

      In answer to your question, yes, balance problems is one of the symptoms of TTTS. You may have mild vertigo often described as swaying which could lead to nausea also.

      Best wishes

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