When you have tinnitus, you learn to live with it. To help tune it out you leave the television on. You avoid going dancing because the loudness of the bar causes your tinnitus to get worse for days after. You check in with specialists frequently to try out new therapies and new strategies. Eventually, your tinnitus just becomes something you work into your everyday way of life.
Tinnitus doesn’t have a cure so you feel powerless. But that could be changing. New research published in PLOS Biology seems to offer promise that we could be getting closer to a permanent and reliable cure for tinnitus.
Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus usually manifests as a buzzing or ringing in the ear (although, tinnitus could be present as other noises also) that don’t have a concrete cause. A problem that impacts 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 an underlying issue that brings about tinnitus symptoms. These root causes can be hard to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is challenging. Tinnitus symptoms can appear due to numerous reasons.
True, the majority of people attribute tinnitus to hearing loss of some type, but even that relationship is not clear. There’s a link, sure, but not all people who have tinnitus also have hearing loss (and vice versa).
A New Culprit: Inflammation
Dr. Shaowen Bao, who is associate professor of physiology at Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon has recently released research. Mice that had tinnitus caused by noise induced loss of hearing were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And what she and her team found out indicates a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
According to the scans and tests done on these mice, inflammation was observed in the areas of the brain responsible for listening. These tests reveal that noise-induced hearing loss is contributing to some unknown injury because inflammation is the body’s response to damage.
But this discovery of inflammation also brings about the opportunity for a new form of therapy. Because we understand (generally speaking) how to handle inflammation. The tinnitus symptoms disappear when the mice were treated for inflammation. Or, at least, those symptoms weren’t observable any longer
Does This Mean There’s a Pill to Treat Tinnitus?
One day there will most likely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–instead of investing in these various coping mechanisms, you can just pop a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus under control.
There are a few hurdles but that is certainly the goal:
- There are various causes for tinnitus; Whether any particular types of tinnitus are connected to inflammation is still unclear.
- Any new approach needs to be confirmed to be safe; it may take a while to determine specific side effects, concerns, or issues related to these specific medications that block inflammation.
- These experiments were first performed on mice. And it will be a while before this particular method is safe and authorized for use on people.
So, a pill for tinnitus might be a long way off. But at least it’s now feasible. If you suffer from tinnitus today, that means a tremendous increase in hope. And other techniques are also being studied. That cure gets closer and closer with every bit of knowledge and every new finding.
What Can You do Today?
You may have hope for an eventual tinnitus pill but that won’t offer you any relief for your constant buzzing or ringing now. There are modern treatments for tinnitus that can deliver real results, even if they don’t really “cure” the root problem.
Some techniques include noise-cancellation units or cognitive therapies created to help you brush off the noises connected to your tinnitus. You don’t need to wait for a cure to get relief, you can get help dealing with your tinnitus now. Discovering a treatment that works can help you spend more time doing what you enjoy, and less time thinking about that buzzing or ringing in your ears. Contact us for a consultation now.