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.

What is tinnitus?

A ringing, buzzing, or droning in the ears with no outside cause of the sound is a condition called tinnitus. The direct translation of the term tinnitus is”ringing like a bell”.”

How will tinnitus impact my daily living?

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 ailments or conditions in your life such as hearing loss or injury. You might hear tinnitus in one ear or both ears and it can hinder your ability to focus.

Regardless of how you’re experiencing tinnitus, it is always disruptive. Sleep loss, anxiety, and even depression can also be triggered by tinnitus symptoms.

What are the causes of tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be enduring or it can come and go. Temporary types of tinnitus are normally caused by prolonged exposure to loud sounds, such as a rock concert. There are a number of medical conditions that tend to go hand-in-hand with tinnitus.

Here are a few conditions that typically go along with tinnitus:

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

Could I have inherited this tinnitus from my parents?

In general, tinnitus isn’t an inherited condition. But the symptoms can be influenced by your genes. 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 genetics. Some of the other conditions that can result in ringing in the ear could be inherited from your parents, including:

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

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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