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 causing your hearing loss to get worse so you stay away from going dancing. You’re always trying new treatments and techniques with your specialist. You simply work tinnitus into your everyday life after a while.
Tinnitus has no cure so you feel powerless. Changes could be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology seems to provide promise that we may be getting closer to a permanent and reliable cure for tinnitus.
Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus normally manifests as a buzzing or ringing in the ear (although, tinnitus may be present as other sounds also) 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. Put simply, tinnitus is triggered by something else – there’s a root problem that creates tinnitus symptoms. One reason why a “cure” for tinnitus is challenging is that these root causes can be challenging to pin down. Tinnitus symptoms can manifest due to quite a few reasons.
Even the link between tinnitus and loss of hearing is unclear even though the majority of people link the two. There’s a relationship, sure, but not all people who suffer from tinnitus also have loss of hearing (and vice versa).
Inflammation: a New Culprit
The new research published in PLOS Biology highlighted a study lead by Dr. Shaowen Bao, an associate professor of physiology at the Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon. Dr. Bao did experiments on mice who had tinnitus induced by noise-induced hearing loss. And a new culprit for tinnitus was discovered by her and her team: inflammation.
Inflammation was seen around the brain centers responsible for hearing when scans were done to these mice. As inflammation is the body’s reaction to injury, this finding does indicate that noise-induced hearing loss might be causing some damage we don’t thoroughly understand yet.
But a new type of treatment is also opened up by these discoveries. Because handling inflammation is something we understand how to do (in general). The tinnitus symptoms went away when the mice were treated for inflammation. 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 likely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine if keeping your tinnitus under control was a routine matter of taking your morning medicine and you could avoid all of the coping mechanisms you need to do now.
There are a couple of obstacles but that is certainly the goal:
- Any new approach needs to be confirmed to be safe; these inflammation blocking medications could have dangerous side effects that could take some time to identify.
- To start with, these experiments were conducted on mice. This strategy isn’t approved yet for humans and it could be a while before it is.
- There are various causes for tinnitus; Whether any specific types of tinnitus are connected to inflammation is still not certain.
So it could be pretty far off before we get a pill to treat tinnitus. But it isn’t impossible. That should bring anybody who has tinnitus significant hope. And other solutions are also being researched. That cure gets closer and closer with every bit of practical knowledge and every new discovery.
Ca Anything be Done Now?
If you have a continual ringing or buzzing in your ears now, the promise of a far off pill might give you hope – but not necessarily relief. Modern treatments may not “cure” your tinnitus but they do produce real results.
Being able to tune out or ignore tinnitus noises, sometimes employing noise canceling headphones or cognitive techniques is what modern methods are aiming to do. A cure might be several years off, but that doesn’t mean you have to cope with tinnitus by yourself or unaided. Spending less time stressing 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 discover a treatment that works for you. Make your appointment right away.