When you suffer from tinnitus, you learn to deal with it. To help tune it out you keep the television on. You skip going dancing because the loudness of the bar causes your tinnitus to get worse for days. You’re regularly trying new solutions and strategies with your specialist. Eventually, your tinnitus simply becomes something you work into your daily way of life.
Tinnitus has no cure so you feel powerless. Changes may be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology seems to offer promise that we may be getting closer to a permanent and reliable cure for tinnitus.
Tinnitus commonly manifests as a ringing or buzzing in the ear (though, tinnitus may be present as other noises too) that don’t have an objective cause. A condition that impacts over 50 million people in the United States alone, tinnitus is remarkably common.
It’s also a symptom, generally speaking, and not a cause in and of itself. Put simply, tinnitus is triggered by something else – there’s a root problem that creates tinnitus symptoms. One of the reasons why a “cure” for tinnitus is challenging is that these underlying causes can be challenging to pin down. Tinnitus symptoms can manifest due to numerous reasons.
True, the majority of people connect tinnitus to loss of hearing of some kind, but even that connection is not clear. There is some connection but there are some people who have tinnitus and don’t have any hearing loss.
Inflammation: a New Culprit
Dr. Shaowen Bao, who is associate professor of physiology at Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon has recently published research. Dr. Bao did experiments on mice who had tinnitus caused by noise-induced loss of hearing. And what she and her team observed suggests a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
Inflammation was found around the brain areas used for hearing when scans were done to these mice. These tests indicate that noise-induced hearing loss is causing some unknown damage because inflammation is the body’s reaction to damage.
But this discovery of inflammation also brings about the possibility of a new type of treatment. Because we understand (generally speaking) how to deal with inflammation. 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.
Does This Mean There’s a Pill to Treat Tinnitus?
If you take a patient enough viewpoint, you can probably look at this study and see how, one day, there may definitely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–rather than investing in these various coping mechanisms, you can just pop a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus under control.
That’s certainly the objective, but there are different huge obstacles in the way:
- To start with, these experiments were conducted on mice. This strategy is not yet approved for humans and it could be a while before that happens.
- We still need to prove if any new approach is safe; these inflammation blocking medications may have harmful side effects that still need to be identified.
- There are a number of causes for tinnitus; Which particular types of tinnitus are connected to inflammation is still unclear.
So it could be pretty far off before we have a pill to treat tinnitus. But at least it’s now feasible. That should bring anybody who has tinnitus significant hope. And, obviously, this strategy in dealing with tinnitus is not the only one presently being researched. That cure gets closer and closer with every bit of practical knowledge and every new finding.
What Can You do Today?
You could have hope for an eventual tinnitus pill but that won’t offer you any relief for your persistent buzzing or ringing now. 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 using noise canceling headphones or cognitive therapies is what modern techniques are aiming to do. You don’t need to wait for a cure to get relief, you can get help coping with your tinnitus now. Spending less time stressing about the buzzing or ringing in your ears and more time doing what you enjoy is the reason why you need to let us help you discover a treatment that works for you. Set up your appointment today.