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

Are you going crazy with that tinnitus in your ears? Discover whether your tinnitus is inherited or what the cause might be.

What is tinnitus?

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

How will my everyday living be affected by tinnitus?

Tinnitus can interrupt personal connections in several frustrating ways. It’s not a disease in and of itself, but it’s a symptom of other ailments or conditions in your life such as hearing loss or damage. You might hear tinnitus in one ear or both ears and it can impede your ability to focus.

Tinnitus is always disruptive regardless of how it’s manifesting. Sleep loss, anxiety, and even depression can also be caused by tinnitus symptoms.

What are the causes of tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be constant or temporary. Lengthy exposure to loud sound, like a rock concert, is typically the cause of short-term tinnitus. There are a few medical conditions that tend to go hand-in-hand with tinnitus.

Here are a few situations that typically accompany tinnitus:

  • 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
  • Bruxism, generally referred to as teeth grinding caused by temporomandibular joint issues, or TMJ disorder
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Accumulation of excessive earwax
  • Trauma to the neck or head
  • The ear bone has undergone changes
  • Infection of the inner ear
  • Various medications
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Extended exposure to loud sound
  • Inner ear cell damage and irritation of the fragile hairs used to conduct sound, causing arbitrary transmissions of sound to your brain
  • Age-related hearing impairment

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

In general, tinnitus isn’t a hereditary condition. However, your genetics can play a part in this condition. For instance, ear bone changes that can result in tinnitus can be inherited. These changes are caused by irregular bone growth that can be handed down through family lines. Here are a few other conditions you might have inherited that can result in tinnitus:

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

The ringing in your ear isn’t 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 personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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