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

Are you experiencing 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 name describing a person’s perception of a ringing, droning, or buzzing in the ear with no external stimulus present to explain this sensation. The direct translation of the word tinnitus is”ringing like a bell”.”

How will my everyday living be impacted by tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be frustrating and can interrupt intimate interactions. It isn’t a disease in and of itself, but it’s a symptom of other conditions or circumstances 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 troublesome 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 persistent or temporary. Sustained exposure to loud noise, like a rock concert, is normally the cause of temporary tinnitus. Tinnitus has been known to manifest with a few different medical issues.

A few of the conditions that may play host to tinnitus include:

  • Sustained exposure to loud noise
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Inner ear cell damage and irritation of the delicate hairs used to conduct sound, causing arbitrary transmissions of sound to your brain
  • Age-related hearing impairment
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism) triggered by a TMJ disorder
  • Injuries that impact nerves of the ear
  • Different medications
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Inner ear infections
  • Excessive earwax build-up
  • Acoustic neuroma where a benign tumor forms on the cranial nerve running from the brain to the inner ear
  • Head or neck traumas
  • Changes in the structure of the ear bone

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

Generally, tinnitus isn’t an inherited condition. However, your genes can play a part in this symptom. You can, for instance, inherit a tendency for your ear bone to change. These changes are caused by irregular bone growth that can be passed down through family lines. A few of the other conditions that can lead to ringing in the ear could be inherited from your parents, including:

  • Specific diseases
  • Being predisposed to depression or anxiety
  • 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 susceptible to the disorders that are breeding grounds for tinnitus.

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

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