Learning to live with tinnitus is often how you manage it. You leave the television on to help you tune out the constant ringing. And loud music at bars is making your tinnitus worse so you avoid going dancing. You’re always trying new solutions and techniques with your hearing care expert. Eventually, your tinnitus just becomes something you work into your daily way of life.
Tinnitus doesn’t have a cure so you feel helpless. Changes could be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology shows that an effective and permanent cure for tinnitus may be coming soon.
Causes of Tinnitus
You’re dealing with tinnitus if you hear a ringing or buzzing (or sometimes other sounds) with no apparent cause. A problem that impacts over 50 million people in the United States alone, tinnitus is incredibly common.
And it isn’t a cause itself but a symptom of something else. Put simply, tinnitus is triggered by something else – tinnitus symptoms are the outcome of some root concern. These root causes can be hard to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is evasive. There are many possible reasons for tinnitus symptoms.
Even the association between tinnitus and hearing loss is uncertain although the majority of people associate the two. There is some relationship but there are some people who have tinnitus and don’t have any loss of hearing.
Inflammation: a New Culprit
The new research published in PLOS Biology highlighted a study performed by Dr. Shaowen Bao, an associate professor of physiology at the Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon. Dr. Bao performed experiments on mice who had tinnitus caused by noise-induced hearing loss. And what she and her team found out indicates a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
According to the scans and tests carried out on these mice, inflammation was seen in the areas of the brain in control of listening. These Scans indicate that noise-induced hearing loss is contributing to some unidentified damage because inflammation is the body’s reaction to damage.
But this finding of inflammation also brings about the possibility of a new type of treatment. Because we know (generally speaking) how to deal with inflammation. When the mice were given medication that inhibited the detected inflammation response, the symptoms of tinnitus faded away. Or at the very least there were no longer observable symptoms of tinnitus.
So is There a Pill to Treat Tinnitus?
One day there will probably be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–rather than counting on these various coping elements, you can just take a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus at bay.
There are a few hurdles but that is certainly the goal:
- There are several causes for tinnitus; it’s hard to understand (at this point) whether all or even most tinnitus is connected to inflammation of some kind.
- To start with, these experiments were performed on mice. And there’s a long way to go before this particular strategy is safe and authorized for use on humans.
- We still have to prove if any new method is safe; these inflammation blocking medications could have harmful side effects that still need to be identified.
So it could be pretty far off before we have a pill to treat tinnitus. But at least it’s now feasible. That should offer anyone who has tinnitus significant hope. And, clearly, this approach in managing tinnitus is not the only one currently being studied. That cure gets closer with every bit of knowledge and every new finding.
What Can You do Today?
If you have a chronic buzzing or ringing in your ears now, the promise of a far off pill may give you hope – but not necessarily relief. Modern treatments might not “cure” your tinnitus but they do give real results.
Some techniques include noise-cancellation devices or cognitive therapies created to help you ignore 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 right now. Discovering a therapy that works can help you spend more time doing what you enjoy, and less time thinking about that buzzing or ringing in your ears. Get in touch with us for a consultation right away.