Hearing Health Blog

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

Are you going mad with that tinnitus in your ears? Find out what causes tinnitus and whether you could 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 direct translation of the word tinnitus is”ringing like a bell”.”

How will my daily living be impacted by tinnitus?

Tinnitus can disrupt personal connections in several annoying ways. It’s usually a sign that you have damaged hearing or some underlying health condition and not a disease in and of itself. Your ability to stay focused can be seriously disrupted when you begin to hear tinnitus in one or both ears.

Tinnitus is always troublesome regardless of how it’s manifesting. Tinnitus can affect your sleep and even trigger anxiety and depression.

What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be long lasting or it can come and go. Sustained exposure to loud noise, such as a rock concert, is normally the cause of short-term tinnitus. There are a few medical issues that tend to go hand-in-hand with tinnitus.

Here are a few situations that typically accompany tinnitus:

  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Changes in the structure of the ear bone
  • Numerous medications
  • Injuries that impact nerves of the ear
  • Inner ear cell damage and irritation of the sensitive hairs used to transport sound, causing arbitrary transmissions of sound to your brain
  • Inner ear infections
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Sustained exposure to loud sound
  • Hearing loss associated with aging
  • Excessive earwax build-up
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism) triggered by a TMJ disorder
  • Trauma to the neck or head
  • A benign tumor, called acoustic neuroma, grows on cranial nerve

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

In general, tinnitus isn’t an inherited condition. However, your genes can play a role in this symptom. You can, for instance, inherit a tendency for your ear bone to change. These changes are caused by abnormal bone growth that can be handed down through family lines. Some of the other conditions that can lead to ringing in the ear may be passed down from your parents, including:

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

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

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

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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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