Is My Tinnitus Inherited?

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

Are you going crazy with that tinnitus in your ears? Find out what causes tinnitus and whether you might have inherited it.

Tinnitus, what exactly is it?

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 affected by tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be aggravating and can interrupt intimate interactions. It’s not a disease in and of itself, but it’s a symptom of other conditions or circumstances in your life like hearing loss or damage. You might hear tinnitus in one ear or both ears and it can hinder your ability to concentrate.

Regardless of how you’re experiencing tinnitus, it is always bothersome. Tinnitus can affect your sleep and even cause anxiety and depression.

What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be enduring or it can come and go. Temporary varieties of tinnitus are typically brought on by prolonged exposure to loud noises, such as a rock concert. There are a number of medical issues that tend to go hand-in-hand with tinnitus.

Here are several conditions that generally accompany tinnitus:

  • Various medications
  • Injuries that affect nerves of the ear
  • Acoustic neuroma where a benign tumor forms on the cranial nerve going from the brain to the inner ear
  • The ear bone has changed
  • Head or neck traumas
  • Inner ear cell damage and irritation of the fragile hairs used to transport sound, causing random transmissions of sound to your brain
  • Age-related hearing loss
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism) triggered by a TMJ disorder
  • Accumulation of excessive earwax
  • Infection of the inner ear
  • Sustained exposure to loud noise
  • Anxiety or depression

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

Tinnitus isn’t directly inherited. However, your genes can play a role in this condition. For instance, ear bone changes that can lead to tinnitus can be passed down. These changes are related to abnormal bone growth that can be passed down through family lines. A few of the other conditions that can produce ringing in the ear may be inherited from your parents, including:

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

The ringing in your ear is not directly inheritable, but you might have been genetically predisposed to the conditions that are breeding grounds for tinnitus.

If your family has a history of tinnitus, you should definitely come in for an assessment.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive a personalized free hearing test and hearing loss consultation, call today to set up an appointment.