Tinnitus is a common enough problem. But, could your genes make you predisposed to it? There may be a link between genetics and tinnitus in both ears.
Tinnitus is a symptom that causes you to hear ringing or noise in your ears. It’s so common, approximately 1 in 5 people get it, and, according to the Mayo Clinic, it is not in itself considered a condition. Instead, it is a symptom of another condition underneath like an ear injury, a circulatory disorder, or even age-related hearing loss.
However, a new study suggests that if you have tinnitus in both ears, you may have your family tree to blame, especially if you are a man. Researchers found a correlation between tinnitus in both ears and genetics. But, the study subjects were both identical and fraternal twins. So, the scope of this study is rather limited.
Conversely, another study staunchly suggests that tinnitus is not hereditary. Researchers base this assertion on the low overall link based on families who answered a question via a questionnaire. Participants also took part in a hearing test. Though many of the participants had some signs of hearing loss, there really were no signs to indicated passage through genetics.
Finally, both studies have serious shortcomings. The first only tested a very small, specific group. The second only had superficial data from which to support their findings. Other studies were conducted in the past to test the link between genetics and tinnitus, but even those findings may have outside influencers to support positive correlation claims.
And, one of the reason’s it is so difficult to test for this correlation is because tinnitus is considered to be a symptom, not a condition itself. Therefore, if scientists can’t agree on how to phenotype tinnitus, it is difficult to pinpoint a coherent avenue of research to follow.
There is a possibility that there is a link between genetics and tinnitus in both ears. However, it’s too soon to say for sure, e.specially since the research is so conflicting. So, if you have tinnitus in your family make sure to monitor your own hearing just in case. At least, until the research community presents more findings.