Open Access Research article

Self-reported aural symptoms, headache and temporomandibular disorders in Japanese young adults

Rahena Akhter12*, Manabu Morita3, Disuke Ekuni3, Nur Mohammad Monsur Hassan14, Michiko Furuta3, Reiko Yamanaka3, Yoshizo Matsuka5 and David Wilson1

Author Affiliations

1 School of Dentistry and Health Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Po Box 883, Leeds Parade, Orange, NSW, 2800, Australia

2 Faculty of Dentistry, Professorial Unit (Jaw Function and Orofacial Pain), Westmead Centre for Oral Health, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, NSW, 2145, Australia

3 Department of Preventive Dentistry, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2-5-1 Shikata-cho, Okayama, 700-8525, Japan

4 Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Westmead, NSW, 2145, Australia

5 Department of Fixed Prosthodontics, Institute of Health Biosciences, The University of Tokushima Graduate School, 3-18-15 Kuramoto-cho, Tokushima, 770-8504, Japan

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2013, 14:58  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-58

Published: 6 February 2013



To investigate the associations of aural symptoms, headache and depression with the presence of temporomandibular disorder (TMD) symptoms in a young adult population in Japan.


A personal interview survey was conducted on first-year university students (n = 1,930) regarding symptoms of TMD, aural problems, headache, shoulder pain and depression. Logistic regression was applied to assess the associations of these problems with the presence of TMD symptoms after controlling for age and gender.


Among the 1,930 students, 543 students exhibited TMD symptoms and were classified into 7 groups: clicking only (Group I, n = 319), pain in the TMJ only (Group II, n = 21), difficulty in mouth opening only (Group III, n = 18), clicking and pain (Group IV, n = 29), clicking and difficulty in mouth opening (Group V, n = 48), difficulty in mouth opening and pain (Group VI, n = 11), and combination of three symptoms (Group VII, n = 97). The control group (n = 1,387) were subjects without any TMD symptoms. After adjusting for age and gender, a strong association was observed between TMD symptoms (Group II and IV) and tinnitus (OR = 12.1 and 13.2, respectively). TMD symptoms (Group I, II and III) were also associated with vertigo and headache. Otalgia and depression were significantly associated with the presence of clicking only.


TMD symptoms were significantly correlated to aural symptoms and headache. A functional evaluation of the stomatognathic system should be considered in subjects with unexplained aural symptoms and headache.

Headache; Temporomandibular disorders; Tinnitus; Vertigo; Young adults