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 might have inherited it.

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 experience. The term tinnitus translates to “ringing like a bell.”

How will tinnitus affect my everyday living?

Tinnitus can disrupt personal connections in numerous frustrating ways. It’s usually an indication that you have damaged hearing or some root health condition and not a disease in and of itself. You might hear tinnitus in one ear or both ears and it can hinder your ability to concentrate.

Regardless of the way in which you’re experiencing tinnitus, it is always bothersome. 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 sound, like a rock concert, is usually the cause of temporary tinnitus. There are a number of medical conditions that tend to go hand-in-hand with tinnitus.

Here are several conditions that generally go along with tinnitus:

  • Buildup of excessive earwax
  • Changes in the structure of the ear bone
  • Trauma to the neck or head
  • Injuries that affect nerves of the ear
  • Inner ear cell damage and irritation of the delicate hairs used to conduct sound, causing random transmissions of sound to your brain
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Hearing impairment associated with aging
  • Inner ear infections
  • Acoustic neuroma where a benign tumor forms on the cranial nerve running from the inner ear to the brain
  • Exposure to loud sound for extended periods of time
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism) related to a TMJ disorder
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Several medications

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

Tinnitus isn’t directly hereditary. However, your genetics can play a part in this condition. For instance, ear bone changes that can result in tinnitus can be inherited. Abnormal bone growth can cause these changes and can be handed down through genes. Here are a few other conditions you may have inherited that can trigger tinnitus:

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

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

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