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Hearing & Balance Doctors is currently open. We are taking special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including offering a curbside service for hearing aids. Please call 435-688-8991 for more information. Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031
Hearing & Balance Doctors is currently open. We are taking special measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including offering a curbside service for hearing aids. Please call 435-688-8991 for more information. Utah: 435-688-8991 | Nevada: 702-896-0031

Is Tinnitus Hereditary?

Is Tinnitus Hereditary
Have you ever noticed a slight ringing in your ears following a loud concert? For most, the ringing of the ears only happens every now and then. But people dealing with tinnitus experience ringing or the perception of noise in their ears at all times. In fact, the American Tinnitus Association says that 50 million Americans are impacted by tinnitus to some degree.

Tinnitus itself isn’t a condition, but rather a symptom of an underlying conditioning, such as a circulatory system disorder, hearing loss, or an ear injury. However, there is a form of tinnitus that is genetic. Bilateral tinnitus, which is tinnitus in both ears, is hereditary.

A recent study in 2017 found that bilateral tinnitus has a dominant genetic influence over environmental factors, particularly in men. While researchers are still in the beginning stages determining the correlation between genetics and tinnitus, it’s important to know if this condition is present in your family’s medical history.

Cause of Tinnitus

Tinnitus is caused or worsened by different environmental factors and health conditions. In most situations, tinnitus is caused by:

  • Exposure to loud noises – Short-term exposure to loud noises can cause temporary tinnitus. Long-term exposure to loud noises, such as firearms, machinery, or loud music can cause permanent damage to your hearing.
  • Age-related hearing loss – As we age, most people will experience some hearing loss once. As a result of the hearing loss, you might also experience ringing in your ears, otherwise known as tinnitus.
  • Earwax blockage – When earwax builds up in your ear canal, it becomes too difficult for it to clear out on its own naturally. As a result, your eardrum can become irritated and lead to tinnitus.
  • Ear bone changes – Did you know that the bones in your ear can stiffen over time? This conditioning, known as otosclerosis, can affect your hearing and cause tinnitus. Otosclerosis is hereditary, so if you notice any hearing loss you’ll want to check your family’s medical history.

Types of Tinnitus

If you’re experiencing tinnitus, you have one of the following types:

  • Subjective tinnitus – Subjective tinnitus is the most common type of tinnitus. With this type, only you can hear the ringing in your ears and is usually caused by exposure to loud noises. Subjective tinnitus can last over a short period or be permanent.
  • Objective tinnitus – Unlike subjective tinnitus, objective tinnitus can be heard by a doctor doing an ear examination. Objective tinnitus is rare and caused by muscle contractions, high blood pressure, or an ear bone condition.

How to Treat Tinnitus

No case of tinnitus is the same, which is why there are multiple treatment options you can use to improve your hearing and reduce the ringing in your ear. Some of the best methods of treatment include:

  • Hearing Aids – The first step to resolving tinnitus is by using hearing aids. Hearing loss is one of the biggest causes of tinnitus. Because hearing aids are the most effective treatment for hearing loss, correcting the hearing loss first will typically reduce the ringing in the ears.
  • Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) – Combining sound therapy in conjunction with counseling, Tinnitus Retraining Therapy focuses on helping the patient have greater control over their response to the tinnitus.
  • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) – When dealing with tinnitus, people tend to have a negative mindset. MBSR focuses on using mindfulness to teach patients how to embrace and control the ringing in their ears.

The Hearing & Balance Doctors Are Here to Help

Take the first step to relief by scheduling a tinnitus evaluation with one of our skilled audiologists at Hearing & Balance Doctors. If you or a family member is struggling with tinnitus, we can help you find a solution. Our doctors of audiology specialize in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating tinnitus with great success. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

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