Is the ringing in your ears driving you crazy? Discover what causes tinnitus and whether you may have inherited it.
What is tinnitus?
Tinnitus is the term referring to a person’s perception of a ringing, droning, or buzzing in the ear with no external stimulus present to explain this sensation. The word tinnitus translates to “ringing like a bell.”
How does tinnitus affect my everyday life?
Tinnitus can be annoying and can interrupt intimate interaction, as outlined above. It’s not a disease in and of itself, but it’s a symptom of other conditions or circumstances in your life.
What are the causes of tinnitus?
There can be temporary or consistent cases of tinnitus. The fleeting types of tinnitus are usually triggered by prolonged exposure to loud noises, such as a rock concert. Tinnitus has been known to co-occur with a few different medical conditions. A few of the conditions that may play host to tinnitus include:
- 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
- Injuries that affect nerves of the ear
- Bruxism, more commonly known as teeth grinding stemming from temporomandibular joint issues, or TMJ disorder
- Age-related hearing impairment
- Prolonged exposure to loud noise
- Excessive earwax build-up
- Changes in the composition of the ear bone
- Meniere’s Disease
- Head or neck injuries
- Acoustic neuroma where a benign tumor forms on the cranial nerve running from the brain to the inner ear
- Different medications
- Depression or anxiety
Is it possible that I inherited this ringing in my ears from my mom and dad?
Tinnitus isn’t directly hereditary. However, your genes can play a role in this symptom. For instance, ear bone changes that can lead to tinnitus can be inherited. These changes are caused by abnormal bone growth that can pass down family lines. Some of the other conditions that can lead to ringing in the ear may be inherited from your parents, including:
- Being prone to inner ear infections or wax build-up
- Being predisposed to depression or anxiety
- Certain diseases
The ringing in your ear is not directly inheritable, but you may have been genetically predisposed to the conditions that are breeding grounds for tinnitus.