Thank you for attending our Sight + Sound Bites Webinar with Dr. Thanos Tzounopoulos, Dr. Ross Williamson, and Dr. Catherine Palmer. As promised, we have provided the answers to your additional Q&A questions.

My brother and me got Tinnitus and Hyperacusis in 6 months difference. It makes me think there are genetic predisposition. Are there studies in this way?

A recent review (Vona et al, 2017) indicated that there are some data to suggest that certain types of tinnitus may have a genetic component, but also that strong evidence doesn’t exist. More commonly, tinnitus is attributed to non-genetic factors (e.g. noise exposure, medication exposure, etc).

Several studies have reported that hyperacusis is a known symptom of Williams syndrome (a neurodevelopmental genetic disorder). This may suggest a genetic component, although the specific mechanism by which it occurs in this disorder is not well understood (Tyler et al, 2014).

Another recent study (Sanchez & Da Silva, 2017) explored a familial link for a different type of decreased sound tolerance called misophonia. They reported some evidence that this specific type of sound intolerance may have a hereditary etiology.  –Dr. Palmer

I recently developed tinnitus, any suggestions on vitamin supplements I can take to help reduce the ringing, while waiting for something to come the market that helps?

There is no high-quality evidence to support using supplements to reduce tinnitus loudness or awareness. Anecdotal reports may suggest that supplements have been helpful, but the evidence to support these claims is weak.

There is good evidence to support the use of sound therapy and counseling with the hopes of reducing tinnitus awareness and improving coping skills. If your tinnitus began recently, please visit an audiologist to have your hearing checked and discuss some tinnitus treatment options! Many people who do this find that their tinnitus becomes quite manageable. –Dr. Palmer

Having strong tinnitus in both ears, is there a concern that there is something else going on, perhaps a tumor. Is an MRI suggested?

There is no “one size fits all” answer to this question. I would suggest a conversation with your otolaryngologist.

In many cases, bilateral tinnitus is not medically treatable because there is often no underlying structural abnormality. If the tinnitus is bilateral and there are no other ear symptoms of concern (asymmetrical hearing loss, ear pain, dizziness, ear fullness, etc), your doctor may recommend waiting and re-evaluating you in several months. However, they may feel that further testing is warranted if there are other symptoms associated, if your description of the tinnitus raises concerns, if your ear exam is abnormal, or based upon your health history. –Dr. Palmer