Is Tinnitus Connected to the Neck?

Posted in Head Pain Disorders Balance Disorder on Aug 23, 2021

Somatosensory tinnitus is a type of ringing in the ear sensation that is frequently connected to the joints of the neck (aka cervical spine).

Tinnitus can be caused by a number of conditions including sensory hearing loss (e.g., loud noise exposure), sensory processing disorders in the brain, and other pathology al conditions.

However, if you’ve already been to the audiologists and neurologist and tinnitus specialists in Brisbane - and if you’ve already had all the audiology tests and bran scans and MRIs but everything is coming back as “normal” you may be wondering what else could be causing your tinnitus.

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More importantly, you want to know what you can do about it so that it is not just something you have to learn to live with. If you are experiencing tinnitus, one of the missing pieces of the puzzle may be a precise look at what is happening with the alignment and motion through your upper neck, 

How is Tinnitus Connected to the Neck?

There are three types of sensory nerve receptors in the joints of your neck:

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  • Pain receptors
  • Proprioceptors 
  • Pressure receptors.

Pain receptors … the name kind of says it all. Proprioceptors regulate tension in your muscles so that they move properly. Pressure receptors are involved with body-position sense. 

What is important to know is that these pressure receptors connect to the parts of your brain that are involved with balance, hearing, and equilibrium. As a result, it may be possible that the tinnitus that you are hearing is connected to your neck similar to static on a radio.

Here’s the interesting thing: if you are experiencing this type of tinnitus, which is known as “somatosensory tinnitus,” you may not actually be experiencing any physical pain at the time. Therefore you may never have realised that tinnitus could be connected to your neck.

Are there any other signs to know if Tinnitus is Connected to the Neck?

Somatosensory tinnitus that is connected to the beck often does leave a few other clues. However, it isn’t usually until you read an article like this one that you ever consider the possibility that these things could be connected.

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Headaches or even migraines. When a mechanical problem with the alignment and motion through your neck aggravates the pain receptors, it is very common that this will shoot pain into the head. Despite the common belief, there is no such actual thing as a “normal headache.” Neck pain or tightness. This can include shoulder tightness because if the proprioceptors of the neck are aggravated at the same time, they can produce abnormal muscle tension.

Dizziness or vertigo. Because auditory and balance information are processed by so many similar areas of the brain, tinnitus often goes hand in hand with dizziness or vertigo. In fact, it is one of the hallmarks of a condition known as Meniere’s disease, which has been shown to be strongly connected to a problem in the neck.

Jaw problems including clicking. The disc on the inside of your jaw joint also contains a large number of pressure receptors that tie into the parts of your brain that process hearing and balance information. If your jaw move abnormally due to a problem in your neck, this disc can be compressed, which can lead to ear pain and also tinnitus,

Fullness in the ear, “brain pressure” or “brain fog.” The eustachian tube is what keeps your ear open or closed. Like if your ear blocks if you are descending in an airplane, a problem with the eustachian tube, which is influence strongly but the alignment of the bones in your upper neck, can also be connected with the pressure of “fogginess” in the brain that is also connected with tinnitus.

Neck Treatment for people with Tinnitus

There are many forms of healthcare that work on the neck. However, when it comes to working with people who experience tinnitus, precision is often the key. In other words, you want to take a customised approach with things where it isn’t just the same treatment for everyone. At Atlas Health Australia, we take a personalised approach to working with people with tinnitus in a unique way with something known as the Blair upper cervical technique.

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The Blair technique is a revolutionary approach in chiropractic that does not use any twisting or cracking of the neck. The procedure starts with a detailed physical and neurological assessment, and also a series of customised diagnostic images. Unlike standard CT or MRI scans, these types of specialised scans are taken at unique angles based on your own body structure. By taking these individual differences into account, we are often able to discover problems in the neck that could be connected to your tinnitus that is not otherwise showing on your normal scans.

With this information, we are able to locate the exact direction and degree of any mechanical problem in your neck, and then make a personalised care recommendation so that you can have the best chance for long term relief from tinnitus. Frequently, we also work with a number of other specialised healthcare practitioners as tinnitus is often a tricky condition. Let’s face it: if it was simple, surely someone else would have been able to figure it out by now for you!

So, if you or your loved one would like to find out how we may be able to help you, call us at 07 3188 9329 to schedule a complimentary 15-minute over the phone consultation with one of our chiropractic doctors to discuss your individual case and answer any questions that you may have. Alternatively, you can email through the Contact Us link on the top of this page, and one of our stands will arrange a time for you. Tinnitus does not need to be a permanent condition. Your body is capable of doing amazing things. It may only need the change and little help. Atlas Health Australia - “Hope, healing, and wellbeing from above-down, inside-out.”


Biesinger E, Reisshauer A, Mazurek B. [The role of the cervical spine and the craniomandibular system in the pathogenesis of tinnitus. Somatosensory tinnitus]. [Article in German] HNO. 2008 Jul;56(7):673-7. doi: 10.1007/s00106-008-1721-2.

Hölzl M, Behrmann R, Biesinger E, et al Selected ENT symptoms in functional disorders of the upper cervical spine and temporomandibular joints. HNO. 2019 Mar;67(Suppl 1):1-9. doi: 10.1007/s00106-019-0610-1.

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Michiels S, Van de Heyning P, Truijen S, et al. Does multi-modal cervical physical therapy improve tinnitus in patients with cervicogenic somatic tinnitus? Man Ther. 2016 Dec;26:125-131. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2016.08.005. Epub 2016 Aug 26.

Ralli M, Altissimi G, Turchetta R, et al. Somatosensory Tinnitus: Correlation between Cranio-Cervico-Mandibular Disorder History and Somatic Modulation. Audiol Neurootol. 2016;21(6):372-382. doi: 10.1159/000452472. Epub 2017 Jan 19.

Ralli M, Greco A, Turchetta R, et al. Somatosensory tinnitus: Current evidence and future perspectives. J Int Med Res. 2017 Jun;45(3):933-947. doi: 10.1177/0300060517707673. Epub 2017 May 28.

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