Did I Inherit my Tinnitus?

Woman grimacing with hand on the left side of her head suffering from tinnitus

Do you have ringing in your ears that’s driving you crazy? Find out what causes tinnitus and whether you might have inherited it.

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is the name describing a person’s perception of a ringing, droning, or buzzing in the ear with no external noises present to explain this sensation. The word tinnitus translates to “ringing like a bell.”

How will my daily living be impacted by tinnitus?

Tinnitus can disrupt personal connections in numerous annoying ways. It’s not a disease in and of itself, but it’s a symptom of other conditions or circumstances in your life including hearing loss or damage. Your ability to stay focused can be seriously disrupted when you begin to hear tinnitus in one or both ears.

Regardless of how you’re experiencing tinnitus, it is always disruptive. Sleep loss, anxiety, and even depression can also be caused by tinnitus symptoms.

What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be long lasting or it can come and go. Temporary types of tinnitus are typically triggered by prolonged exposure to loud sounds, such as a rock concert. Tinnitus has been known to co-occur with a few different medical issues.

A few of the conditions that might play host to tinnitus include:

  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Inner ear cell damage and irritation of the fragile hairs used to transport sound, causing random transmissions of sound to your brain
  • Exposure to loud noise for sustained periods of time
  • Bruxism, generally known as teeth grinding caused by temporomandibular joint issues, or TMJ disorder
  • Age-related hearing loss
  • Buildup of excessive earwax
  • The ear bone has undergone changes
  • Infection of the inner ear
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Acoustic neuroma where a benign tumor grows on the cranial nerve running from the inner ear to the brain
  • Injuries that impact nerves of the ear
  • Several medications
  • Trauma to the neck or head

Is it possible that my parents may have passed down the ringing in my ears?

In general, tinnitus isn’t an inherited condition. But the symptoms can be affected by your genetics. For instance, ear bone changes that can lead to tinnitus can be inherited. Abnormal bone growth can trigger these changes and can be passed down through family genes. A few of the other conditions that can produce ringing in the ear could be inherited from your parents, including:

  • Being prone to inner ear infections or wax build-up
  • Being predisposed to depression or anxiety
  • Specific diseases

You can’t directly inherit tinnitus, but there are conditions that become breeding grounds for tinnitus which you might have inherited.

If you have a history of tinnitus in your family, it’s really in your best interest to make an appointment with us so we can assess your hearing.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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