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J Oral Rehabil. 2003 Apr;30(4):335-46.

The frequency range of TMJ sounds.

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Department of Biologic Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


There are conflicting opinions about the frequency range of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) sounds. Some authors claim that the upper limit is about 650 Hz. The aim was to test the hypothesis that TMJ sounds may contain frequencies well above 650 Hz but that significant amounts of their energy are lost if the vibrations are recorded using contact sensors and/or travel far through the head tissues. Time-frequency distributions of 172 TMJ clickings (three subjects) were compared between recordings with one microphone in the ear canal and a skin contact transducer above the clicking joint and between recordings from two microphones, one in each ear canal. The energy peaks of the clickings recorded with a microphone in the ear canal on the clicking side were often well above 650 Hz and always in a significantly higher area (range 117-1922 Hz, P < 0.05 or lower) than in recordings obtained with contact sensors (range 47-375 Hz) or in microphone recordings from the opposite ear canal (range 141-703 Hz). Future studies are required to establish normative frequency range values of TMJ sounds but need methods also capable of recording the high frequency vibrations.

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