Learning to live with tinnitus is often how you manage it. To help tune it out you leave the television on. And loud music at bars is making your tinnitus worse so you stay away from going dancing. You’re regularly trying new solutions and techniques with your hearing care expert. Eventually, your tinnitus simply becomes something you fold into your everyday way of life.
Tinnitus has no cure so you feel powerless. But that could be changing. New research published in PLOS Biology indicates that an effective and permanent cure for tinnitus may be coming soon.
Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus usually manifests as a ringing or buzzing in the ear (though, tinnitus could be present as other noises too) that don’t have a concrete cause. A problem that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, tinnitus is incredibly common.
It’s also a symptom, broadly speaking, and not a cause unto itself. Put simply, 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 evasive. There are many possible causes for tinnitus symptoms.
It is true, the majority of people connect tinnitus to hearing loss of some type, but even that link is not clear. There’s a correlation, sure, but not all people who have tinnitus also have loss of hearing (and vice versa).
Inflammation: a New Culprit
Dr. Shaowen Bao, who is associate professor of physiology at Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon has recently released a study. Dr. Bao performed experiments on mice who had tinnitus caused by noise-induced hearing loss. And a new culprit for tinnitus was uncovered by her and her team: inflammation.
Inflammation was seen in the brain centers used for hearing when scans were performed on these mice. As inflammation is the body’s reaction to injury, this finding does indicate that noise-induced hearing loss could be creating some damage we don’t thoroughly understand yet.
But a new form of treatment is also made available by these findings. Because dealing with inflammation is something we know how to do (in general). When the mice were given medication that inhibited the detected inflammation reaction, the symptoms of tinnitus vanished. Or, at a minimum, those symptoms were no longer observable.
So is There a Pill to Treat Tinnitus?
If you take a long enough viewpoint, you can definitely look at this study and see how, one day, there could definitely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–instead of counting on these various coping mechanisms, you can just pop a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus under control.
There are a couple of hurdles but that is certainly the goal:
- To begin with, these experiments were conducted on mice. This method is not approved yet for people and it might be quite some time before that happens.
- We still need to establish whether any new method is safe; it could take a while to determine precise side effects, complications, or issues related to these particular medications that block inflammation.
- Not everyone’s tinnitus will be caused the same way; Which particular forms of tinnitus are connected to inflammation is still not certain.
So, a pill for tinnitus could be pretty far off. But at least it’s now feasible. That should bring anyone who has tinnitus considerable hope. And, of course, this strategy in managing tinnitus is not the only one currently being researched. Every new finding, every new bit of knowledge, brings that cure for tinnitus just a bit nearer.
What Can You do Today?
If you have a prolonged ringing or buzzing in your ears now, the potential of a far off pill might provide you with hope – but probably not relief. There are current therapies for tinnitus that can produce real results, even if they don’t really “cure” the root issue.
Being able to tune out or ignore tinnitus noises, sometimes utilizing noise canceling headphones or cognitive therapies is what modern methods are aiming to do. A cure could be several years off, but that doesn’t mean you have to deal with tinnitus on your own or unassisted. Spending less time being stressed about the ringing or buzzing in your ears and more time doing what you love is the reason why you need to let us help you find a therapy that works for you. Contact us for a consultation now.