Are you experiencing ringing in your ears that’s driving you crazy? Learn whether your tinnitus is inherited or what the cause might be.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the term describing a person’s perception of a ringing, droning, or buzzing in the ear with no external stimulus present to explain this experience. The term tinnitus translates to “ringing like a bell.”
How will my daily living be impacted by tinnitus?
Tinnitus can disrupt personal connections in several frustrating ways. It’s usually a sign that you have damaged hearing or some underlying health condition and not a disease in and of itself. You might hear tinnitus in one ear or both ears and it can impede your ability to focus.
Tinnitus is always disruptive regardless of how it’s manifesting. Sleep loss, anxiety, and even depression can also be caused by tinnitus symptoms.
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 short-term tinnitus. There are a few medical conditions that tend to go hand-in-hand with tinnitus.
A few of the circumstances that may play host to tinnitus include:
- Sustained exposure to loud noise
- Bruxism, more commonly referred to as teeth grinding stemming from temporomandibular joint problems, or TMJ disorder
- The ear bone has changed
- A benign tumor, called acoustic neuroma, grows on cranial nerve
- Age-related hearing loss
- Infection of the inner ear
- Anxiety or depression
- Excessive earwax accumulation
- Different medications
- Inner ear cell damage and irritation of the delicate hairs used to conduct sound, causing random transmissions of sound to your brain
- Injuries that affect nerves of the ear
- Meniere’s Disease
- Head or neck injuries
Is it possible that my parents could have passed down the ringing in my ears?
Tinnitus isn’t directly inherited. But the symptoms can be influenced by your genetics. You can, for instance, inherit a tendency for your ear bone to change. These changes are a consequence of abnormal bone growth that can be passed 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
- Specific diseases
The ringing in your ear is not directly inheritable, but you might have been genetically predisposed to the conditions that are breeding grounds for tinnitus.
If your family has a history of tinnitus, you should definitely come in for an evaluation.