Hearing Services of Nashville

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? Discover whether your tinnitus is inherited or what the cause might be.

Tinnitus, what exactly is it?

Tinnitus is the name referring to 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 my day-to-day living be affected by tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be aggravating and can disrupt intimate interactions. It’s usually an indication that you have damaged hearing or some root health condition and not a disease in and of itself. 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’s always disruptive. Tinnitus can affect your sleep and even trigger anxiety and depression.

What causes tinnitus?

Tinnitus can be enduring or it can come and go. Sustained exposure to loud noise, like a rock concert, is normally the cause of temporary tinnitus. Tinnitus has been documented to co-occur with several different medical issues.

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

  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Exposure to loud sound for prolonged periods of time
  • Trauma to the neck or head
  • Hearing impairment associated with aging
  • Bruxism, generally known as teeth grinding stemming from temporomandibular joint issues, or TMJ disorder
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Acoustic neuroma where a benign tumor grows on the cranial nerve going from the inner ear to the brain
  • Infection of the inner ear
  • Inner ear cell damage and irritation of the sensitive hairs used to conduct sound, causing random transmissions of sound to your brain
  • Injuries that affect nerves of the ear
  • Different medications
  • The ear bone has changed
  • Excessive earwax accumulation

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

Tinnitus isn’t directly hereditary. However, your genes can play a part in this condition. For example, ear bone changes that can lead to tinnitus can be passed down. Irregular bone growth can trigger these changes and can be handed down through genetics. Here are a few other conditions you may have inherited that can cause tinnitus:

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

You can’t directly inherit tinnitus, but there are conditions that become breeding grounds for tinnitus which you could have inherited.

If you have a history of tinnitus in your family, it’s truly in your best interest to make an appointment with us so we can evaluate your hearing.

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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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