When you suffer from tinnitus, you learn to live with it. You keep the television on to help you tune the constant ringing out. And loud music at bars is causing your hearing loss to get worse so you stay away from going dancing. You check in with experts regularly to try new therapies and new techniques. You simply work tinnitus into your daily life after a while.
Tinnitus has no cure so you feel helpless. Changes might be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology suggests that an effective and permanent cure for tinnitus might be coming soon.
Tinnitus normally manifests as a buzzing or ringing in the ear (though, tinnitus might be present as other noises as well) that do not have a concrete cause. A problem that impacts over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s incredibly common for people to suffer from tinnitus.
It’s also a symptom, broadly speaking, and not a cause unto itself. In other words, something causes tinnitus – tinnitus symptoms are the outcome of some underlying concern. One reason why a “cure” for tinnitus is challenging is that these underlying causes can be difficult to pin down. There are various possible reasons for tinnitus symptoms.
True, the majority of people connect tinnitus to loss of hearing of some type, but even that link is unclear. There is some relationship but some people have tinnitus and don’t have any loss of hearing.
Inflammation: a New Culprit
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 a new culprit for tinnitus was discovered by her and her team: inflammation.
Based on the tests and scans performed on these mice, inflammation was found around the areas of the brain responsible for listening. As inflammation is the body’s response to injury, this finding does indicate that noise-induced hearing loss might be creating some damage we don’t fully understand yet.
But a new form of treatment is also made possible by these findings. Because dealing with inflammation is something we know how to do (generally). The tinnitus symptoms went away when the mice were treated for inflammation. Or, at a minimum, those symptoms weren’t observable any longer
So is There a Pill to Treat Tinnitus?
If you take a long enough viewpoint, you can probably look at this research and see how, one day, there may easily be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine if keeping your tinnitus under control was a routine matter of taking your morning medication and you could escape from all of the coping mechanisms you have to do now.
That’s definitely the goal, but there are various big hurdles in the way:
- There are several causes for tinnitus; Whether any particular forms of tinnitus are related to inflammation is still not certain.
- These experiments were first performed on mice. And it will be a while before this particular approach is safe and authorized for use on humans.
- Any new approach needs to be proven safe; it may take some time to determine specific side effects, concerns, or problems related to these specific inflammation-blocking medications.
So, a pill for tinnitus may be pretty far off. But at least it’s now achievable. That should bring anybody who has tinnitus considerable hope. And, of course, this strategy in managing tinnitus is not the only one currently being researched. Every new discovery, every new bit of knowledge, brings that cure for tinnitus a little bit nearer.
Ca Anything be Done Now?
You could have hope for an eventual tinnitus pill but that won’t give you any relief for your persistent buzzing or ringing right now. There are current therapies for tinnitus that can deliver real results, even if they don’t really “cure” the root problem.
Being able to tune out or ignore tinnitus noises, oftentimes using noise canceling headphones or cognitive techniques is what modern strategies are aiming to do. A cure might be several years off, but that doesn’t mean you should cope with tinnitus on your own or unaided. Spending less time stressing about the buzzing or ringing in your ears and more time doing what you love is the reason why you need to let us help you discover a treatment that works for you. Schedule your appointment right away.