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Trends Hear. 2018 Jan-Dec;22:2331216518800640. doi: 10.1177/2331216518800640.

Association Between Subjective Tinnitus and Cervical Spine or Temporomandibular Disorders: A Systematic Review.

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1 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, the Netherlands.
2 Fysiotherapie Sittard Oost, the Netherlands.
3 Research School of Behavioral and Cognitive Neurosciences, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, University of Groningen, the Netherlands.
4 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, the Netherlands.
5 Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, the Netherlands.


Movements of the neck and jaw may modulate the loudness and pitch of tinnitus. The aim of the present study was to systematically analyze the strength of associations between subjective tinnitus, cervical spine disorders (CSD), and temporomandibular disorders (TMD). A systematic literature search of the Medline, Embase, and Pedro databases was carried out on articles published up to September 2017. This covered studies in which tinnitus and CSD or TMD were studied as a primary or a secondary outcome and in which outcomes were compared with a control group. Included articles were evaluated on nine methodological quality criteria. Associations between tinnitus and CSD or TMD were expressed as odds ratios. In total, 2,139 articles were identified, of which 24 studies met the inclusion criteria. Twice, two studies were based on the same data set; consequently, 22 studies were included in the meta-analysis. Methodological quality was generally limited by a lack of blinding, comparability of groups, and nonvalidated instruments for assessing CSD. Results indicated that patients with tinnitus more frequently reported CSD than subjects without tinnitus. The odds ratio was 2.6 (95% CI [1.1, 6.4]). For TMD, a bidirectional association with tinnitus was found; odds ratios ranged from 2.3 (95%CI [1.5, 3.6]) for arthrogenous TMD to 6.7 (95%CI [2.4, 18.8]) for unspecified TMD. Funnel plots suggested a publication bias. After adjusting for this, the odds ratios decreased, but associations persisted. There is weak evidence for an association between subjective tinnitus and CSD and a bidirectional association between tinnitus and TMD.


neck pain; subjective tinnitus; systematic review; temporomandibular disorder

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