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Oct
28

Can Tinnitus be Genetic?

Many tinnitus patients wonder if their symptoms are genetic-based. To find out how to treat tinnitus, it’s important to know how you got it. Tinnitus is a neurological disorder, so it makes sense that it would sometimes be genetic, just as migraines are hereditary (and often comorbid with tinnitus). Here are some interesting discoveries in the search for a genetic cause of tinnitus.

Can Tinnitus be Genetic?

In a study based in Norway, scientists wanted to know if tinnitus can be inherited through genes. They found that about 11 percent of patients have tinnitus as a genetic effect, while the rest experience tinnitus symptoms as a result of environmental factors.

Still, many researchers believe that a higher percentage of tinnitus may develop when hereditary and outside influences combine. Causes of tinnitus can include neurological disorders, vascular illnesses, cell damage from extremely loud noise decibels, or long-term usage of medications known to trigger or worsen tinnitus.

Medications that cause tinnitus

Certain genetic mutations have been linked with tinnitus and hearing loss, such as those associated with neurofibromatosis type II (NFII) and von Hippel-Lindau (YHL) disease. Tinnitus can also occur as a secondary condition to a genetic disorder.

“Such a low heritability is a surprising find because most other diseases studied earlier have been more or less hereditary. We had expected that genetics and the environment would be roughly as important as each other,” – Dr Ellen Kvestad, Division for Mental Health, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, author of study on tinnitus as a genetic disorder.

Ménière’s disease

Tinnitus is one of the most common symptoms of Meniere’s disease; other symptoms include hearing loss, vertigo, nausea, and ear pressure.

In an important study on tinnitus and Meniere’s disease, scientists tested a large family of 135 individuals for signs of tinnitus and found that 9 family members suffered from symptoms of progressive Meniere’s disease, including tinnitus and hearing loss. Researchers hope to use this information to prove the possibility of genetic causes of tinnitus, hearing loss, and vestibular disorders.

Testing

The understanding of tinnitus as a genetic condition is still new, but scientists hope to one day use molecular testing to diagnose and treat tinnitus in families where tinnitus or Meniere’s disease is inherited.

To test for tinnitus, visit your doctor. You may be referred to an audiologist, neurologist, chiropractor, osteopath, or ENT doctor.

Alternatively, a natural herbalist may recommend herbs, vitamins, and minerals that provide positive results in people suffering from tinnitus, dizziness, and nausea.

Summary

Your susceptibility for tinnitus relies on a combination of genetic and non-genetic risk factors, such as medication usage, age, exposure to noise, and neurological health.

Tinnitus as a directly inherited genetic condition is still yet to be determined, but scientists are following promising evidence.

Image courtesy of ddpavumba/freedigitalphotos


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