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 could have inherited it.

What is tinnitus?

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

How will my daily living be impacted by tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be frustrating and can interrupt intimate connections. It’s usually an indication that you have damaged hearing or some underlying health condition and not a disease in and of itself. You may hear tinnitus in one ear or both ears and it can hinder your ability to concentrate.

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

What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be constant or temporary. Sustained exposure to loud noise, such as a rock concert, is typically the cause of temporary tinnitus. Tinnitus has been documented to co-occur with several different medical issues.

Here are a few conditions that typically accompany tinnitus:

  • Injuries that affect nerves of the ear
  • Various medications
  • Changes in the composition of the ear bone
  • Acoustic neuroma where a benign tumor grows on the cranial nerve going from the brain to the inner ear
  • Excessive earwax accumulation
  • Inner ear cell damage and irritation of the sensitive hairs used to transport sound, causing arbitrary transmissions of sound to your brain
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Hearing loss associated with aging
  • Bruxism, more commonly known as teeth grinding stemming from temporomandibular joint problems, or TMJ disorder
  • Exposure to loud noise for sustained time periods
  • Infection of the inner ear
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Trauma to the neck or head

Could I have inherited this ringing in my ears from my parents?

Generally, tinnitus isn’t a hereditary condition. However, your genetics can play a role in this condition. For instance, ear bone changes that can lead to tinnitus can be inherited. These changes are a consequence of abnormal bone growth that can be handed down through family lines. Some of the other conditions that can produce ringing in the ear could be passed down from your parents, including:

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

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 you have a history of tinnitus in your family, it’s truly in your best interest to schedule an appointment with us so we can evaluate your hearing.

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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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