Did I Inherit my Tinnitus?

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

How will tinnitus impact my day to day living?

Tinnitus can interrupt personal connections in numerous annoying ways. It’s normally an indication 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. Sleep loss, anxiety, and even depression can also be triggered by tinnitus symptoms.

What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be enduring or it can come and go. Short term types of tinnitus are typically triggered by extended exposure to loud noises, like a rock concert. Tinnitus has been documented to manifest with a few different medical conditions.

A few of the circumstances that might play host to tinnitus include:

  • Buildup of excessive earwax
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Exposure to loud noise for sustained periods of time
  • Hearing impairment related to aging
  • Depression or anxiety
  • A benign tumor, called acoustic neuroma, forms on cranial nerve
  • Injuries that impact nerves of the ear
  • Inner ear cell damage and irritation of the fragile hairs used to conduct sound, causing arbitrary transmissions of sound to your brain
  • Infection of the inner ear
  • Injuries to the neck or head
  • Several medications
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism) caused by a TMJ disorder
  • Changes in the structure of the ear bone

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

Tinnitus isn’t directly inherited. However, your genetics can play a role in this symptom. You can, as an example, inherit a tendency for your ear bone to change. These changes are caused by abnormal bone growth that can be passed down through family lines. Some of the other conditions that can result in ringing in the ear could be passed down from your parents, including:

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

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.