Hearing Associates of Libertyville, IL

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 might have inherited it.

Tinnitus, what exactly is it?

A ringing, buzzing, or droning in the ears with no outside cause of the sound is a condition called tinnitus. The word tinnitus translates to “ringing like a bell.”

How will my daily living be impacted by tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be annoying 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 including hearing loss or damage. Your ability to stay focused can be significantly disrupted when you begin to hear tinnitus in one or both ears.

Regardless of how you’re experiencing tinnitus, it’s always disruptive. impact 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, such as a rock concert, is usually the cause of short-term tinnitus. Tinnitus has been known to co-occur with a few different medical conditions.

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

  • Head or neck injuries
  • Different medications
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism) triggered by a TMJ disorder
  • Inner ear infections
  • Hearing impairment associated with aging
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Injuries that affect nerves of the ear
  • Buildup of excessive earwax
  • Depression or anxiety
  • A benign tumor, called acoustic neuroma, grows on cranial nerve
  • Changes in the composition of the ear bone
  • Inner ear cell damage and irritation of the fragile hairs used to conduct sound, causing arbitrary transmissions of sound to your brain
  • Sustained exposure to loud noise

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

In general, tinnitus isn’t a hereditary condition. However, your genes can play a part in this symptom. For instance, ear bone changes that can lead to tinnitus can be passed down. These changes are caused by irregular bone growth that can be passed down through family lines. Here are some other conditions you might have inherited that can trigger tinnitus:

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

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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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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