When you have tinnitus, you learn to cope with it. To help tune it out you keep the television on. You avoid going dancing because the loudness of the bar makes your tinnitus worse for days. You’re always trying new solutions and strategies with your hearing care expert. You just fold tinnitus into your daily life after a while.
For the most part, that’s because there isn’t any cure for tinnitus. Changes may be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology shows that an reliable and permanent cure for tinnitus might be coming soon.
Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus commonly manifests as a ringing or buzzing in the ear (though, tinnitus could be experienced as other noises too) that don’t have an objective cause. A condition that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s very common for people to suffer from tinnitus.
And it isn’t a cause itself but an indication of some other problem. In other words, tinnitus is triggered by something else – there’s a root problem that brings about tinnitus symptoms. One reason why a “cure” for tinnitus is evasive is that these root causes can be challenging to pin down. Tinnitus symptoms can occur due to quite a few reasons.
True, most people attribute tinnitus to hearing loss of some type, but even that relationship is uncertain. There’s a link, sure, but not all people who have tinnitus also have hearing loss (and vice versa).
A New Culprit: Inflammation
The new study published in PLOS Biology outlined a study lead by Dr. Shaowen Bao, an associate professor of physiology at the Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon. Mice that had tinnitus triggered by noise induced loss of hearing were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And what she and her team discovered indicates a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
Inflammation was seen around the brain areas responsible for hearing when scans were done to these mice. These Scans indicate that noise-induced hearing loss is producing some unknown damage because inflammation is the body’s reaction to damage.
But a new type of approach is also made available by these findings. Because handling inflammation is something we understand how to do (in general). When the mice were given drugs that impeded the observed inflammation reaction, the symptoms of tinnitus faded away. Or, at a minimum, those symptoms weren’t observable any longer
Does This Mean There’s a Pill to Treat Tinnitus?
If you take a patient enough view, you can definitely look at this research and see how, one day, there may definitely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–rather than counting on these various coping elements, you can just pop a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus at bay.
That’s clearly the objective, but there are various big hurdles in the way:
- There are a number of causes for tinnitus; it’s hard to understand (at this point) whether all or even most tinnitus is related to inflammation of some type.
- All new approaches need to be proven safe; it might take a while to identify precise side effects, complications, or challenges related to these specific inflammation-blocking medications.
- These experiments were first performed on mice. This strategy isn’t yet approved for humans and it could be a while before it is.
So, a pill to treat tinnitus could be a long way off. But at least now it’s feasible. If you have tinnitus now, that means a tremendous boost in hope. And other approaches are also being researched. That cure gets closer with every bit of knowledge and every new finding.
Ca Anything be Done Now?
If you have a persistent buzzing or ringing in your ears today, the promise of a far off pill may give you hope – but probably not relief. Current treatments may not “cure” your tinnitus but they do produce real results.
Some techniques include noise-cancellation units or cognitive therapies designed to help you brush off the sounds linked to your tinnitus. You don’t need to wait for a cure to find relief, you can get help dealing with your tinnitus now. Spending less time worrying about the buzzing or ringing in your ears and more time doing what you enjoy is the reason why you should let us help you discover a therapy that works for you. Make your appointment today.