Heritability and Genetics Contribution to Tinnitus

Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2020 Aug;53(4):501-513. doi: 10.1016/j.otc.2020.03.003. Epub 2020 Apr 23.


Tinnitus is the perception of sound in the absence of an external source. Genetic studies on families, twins, and adoptees cohorts have been conducted supporting tinnitus heritability, with higher heritability in men with bilateral tinnitus at any age, and young women with bilateral tinnitus, but not in unilateral tinnitus. The condition is associated with several comorbidities such as hearing loss, Meniere disease, sleep disorders, depression, and migraine and may lead toward suicidal attempts in extreme cases. Several studies have reported few regulatory allelic variants in candidate genes and pathways associated with tinnitus development, but replication studies are needed to validate them.

Keywords: Genetic heritability; Genetics; Genotyping; Prevalence; Tinnitus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity
  • Deafness
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Hearing Loss
  • Humans
  • Inheritance Patterns
  • Male
  • Meniere Disease
  • Sex Factors
  • Suicide, Attempted
  • Tinnitus / diagnosis
  • Tinnitus / epidemiology*
  • Tinnitus / genetics*