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The Top Causes of Somatic Tinnitus

Somatic tinnitus is a tinnitus subtype defined by a high-pitched tone that frequently changes over the course of a day.

As a patient, it can be helpful to be aware of the various causes of somatic tinnitus, which is a tinnitus subtype defined by a high-pitched tone that frequently changes over the course of a day. Somatic tinnitus is a fairly simple tinnitus subtype, as it is typically linked to problems in the head and neck. 

When treating somatic tinnitus, it is crucial to first locate the trigger and then repair the situation accordingly. This is sometimes as easy as treating muscle scarring or inflammation, or as hard as addressing structural issues created by expensive dental procedures. The following causes represent the most common triggers for somatic tinnitus.

Dr. Ben Thompson and Dr. Michael Golenhofen discuss the causes of somatic tinnitus

Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatment, especially those dating back to one’s childhood, can position the teeth in such a way that stresses the maxillary system, which then causes a loss in sensorimotor integrity and can ultimately lead to somatic tinnitus.

Head and Neck Inflammation

Head and neck inflammation from tooth and root canal treatments, tonsil surgery, and sinus infections can all end up aggravating the trigeminal nerve, which reaches all the way to the brain stem and can trigger somatic tinnitus.

Dental Surgery

Any kind of dental surgery, such as tooth extraction, can create rotation of the lower jaw and unwanted compression. The masticator muscles and TMJ joint are very sensitive organs, and we often see patients report the onset of somatic tinnitus six to 12 months after dental treatments.

Injuries and Accidents

Injuries and accidents — especially those to the head or neck area, including whiplash — can create undue tension and asymmetry in the neck’s muscles, and thus can trigger the onset of somatic tinnitus. This tension and asymmetry can even result from injuries in the shoulder or trunk region, as physical trauma in these areas can create similar muscle imbalances.


Injections in the shoulders, chest, neck, or head can cause inflammation and create a loss in sensorimotor integrity, which can then lead to somatic tinnitus.


Sitting with bad posture for long periods of time can create asymmetries in the body’s musculature and also create a loss in sensorimotor integrity.

What To Do Next For Tinnitus

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