Temporomandibular Joint Disorders as a Cause of Aural Fullness

  • Peng, Yongxin (Otolaryngology Department, PLA Army General Hospital)
  • Received : 2016.07.28
  • Accepted : 2016.12.27
  • Published : 2017.09.30


Objectives. Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) are often associated with aural manifestations. However, it is not clear whether aural fullness could be induced by TMD. The purpose was to investigate the TMD and effectiveness of TMD treatments in patients with mainly or exclusively aural fullness complaint. Methods. One hundred and twelve patients, who had aural fullness as the main or sole complaint, presented to the Otolaryngology Department, PLA Army General Hospital, Beijing, China, between January 2010 and January 2015. Patients' medical history indicated that they had previously been diagnosed and treated for otitis media or sensorineural hearing loss but without positive results. Patients were subjected to pure tone audiometry and acoustic immittance screening using GSI-61 clinical audiometer and GSI TympStar middle ear analyzer respectively. Patients were examined by questionnaire, X-ray and/or computed tomography scan of temporomandibular joint. TMD was categorized according to the Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders (RDC/TMD). Patients were then treated for TMD. Results. All the patients showed normal eardrum and type A tympanogram. The patients of 60.7% (68/112) were classified as group I TMD disorders (muscle disorders), 34.8% (39/112) were group II (disc displacements), and 4.5% (5/112) were group III (arthralgia, osteoarthritis, and osteoarthrosis). Aural fullness was completely resolved or significantly improved in 67 and 34 patients respectively following treatments aimed at improving TMD, with a combined effectiveness of 90.2% (101/112). TMD treatments are especially effective (94.1%) in group I TMD. Conclusion. TMD as a potential cause of aural fullness should be considered in otolaryngology practice.