Tinnitus affects millions of people across the United States in varying levels of severity. If you have tinnitus, you don’t need to see an audiologist to know for sure; the whistling, humming, or throbbing sound inside your ear says it all. Understanding more about it can help researchers and you make breakthroughs in its management. Is tinnitus genetic? Let’s find out.
How Tinnitus Works
Tinnitus is readily identifiable by the internal whistling, humming, buzzing, or pulsing inside one’s ear. Tinnitus is usually purely internal, meaning that only the person with it can hear the noise. In some cases, the audiologist can also hear the sound.
The way tinnitus works begins with sensorineural hearing loss. The microscopic hairs within the cochlea, a part of the inner ear, can die due to internal and external causes, such as medication and loud noises. These hairs are supposed to translate sound waves into electrical signals that travel up into the brain, which then interprets the sounds we hear. When those signals aren’t working as they should, the brain may try to compensate by creating pitches of its own.
Is Tinnitus Genetic?
According to one 2017 study, tinnitus can be genetic, especially in men. One can be predisposed to having tinnitus due to genetics. Interestingly, it is only bilateral tinnitus that showed any genetic traits. Bilateral tinnitus is tinnitus in both ears. How you can know your tinnitus is genetic is by looking at your family history; it may be possible that you have an ancestor or sibling who also has it. The discoveries of the genetic connection to tinnitus are relatively new, but further research can provide new avenues for tinnitus management.
If you have tinnitus that is bothering you, you can visit an audiologist to test the severity of your condition. An audiologist is a medical practitioner who specializes in hearing conditions. He or she will conduct a hearing test, a pure tone test, and an interview to discover what your unique tinnitus condition is. With this information, the audiologist can devise a tailored tinnitus treatment plan for you.
Trust the Experts at Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions
Need help with your hearing? Clarity Hearing can help. Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions is an independently owned and operated clinic that focuses on quality of care and personalized, friendly service to the surrounding areas of Ellicott City, Catonsville, Columbia. Our Doctors of Audiology are highly trained with advanced degrees and take the time to provide the personalized care and attention that you need and deserve. We provide advanced hearing aid options that are personally calibrated with cutting-edge digital technology to fit your hearing loss, your unique ear anatomy, and your individual listening needs.