Learning to cope with tinnitus is often how you manage it. To help tune it out you leave the television on. You skip going dancing because the loud music at the bar makes your tinnitus worse for days after. You check in with experts constantly to try out new solutions and new strategies. Eventually, your tinnitus simply becomes something you fold into your everyday way of life.
Mostly, that’s because there isn’t any cure for tinnitus. Changes may be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology seems to provide promise that we may be getting closer to a permanent and effective cure for tinnitus.
Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus normally is experienced as a ringing or buzzing in the ear (although, tinnitus could be experienced as other sounds as well) that do not have a concrete cause. A problem that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s very common for people to suffer from tinnitus.
It’s also a symptom, broadly speaking, and not a cause unto itself. Simply put, tinnitus is caused by something else – there’s an underlying issue that brings about tinnitus symptoms. These root causes can be tough to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is elusive. There are lots of possible causes for tinnitus symptoms.
It is true, the majority of people connect tinnitus to loss of hearing of some kind, but even that link is not clear. There’s a connection, sure, but not all people who suffer from tinnitus also have loss of hearing (and vice versa).
A New Culprit: Inflammation
The new study 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. Mice that had tinnitus brought about by noise induced loss of hearing were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And what she and her team found out suggests a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
Inflammation was found in the brain areas 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 fully understand yet.
But this discovery of inflammation also leads to the possibility of a new kind of treatment. Because we know (generally speaking) how to handle inflammation. When the mice were given drugs that inhibited the observed inflammation response, the symptoms of tinnitus disappeared. Or, at least, those symptoms were no longer observable.
So is There a Pill to Treat Tinnitus?
One day there will likely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine if keeping your tinnitus at bay was a simple matter of taking your morning medicine and you could escape from all of the coping mechanisms you need to do now.
That’s clearly the objective, but there are numerous huge hurdles in the way:
- To begin with, these experiments were done on mice. This approach is not approved yet for humans and it might be some time before it is.
- Any new approach needs to be confirmed to be safe; it might take some time to determine specific side effects, concerns, or issues related to these specific medications that block inflammation.
- Not everybody’s tinnitus will happen the same way; Whether any particular forms of tinnitus are associated with inflammation is still not certain.
So, a pill to treat tinnitus could be a long way off. But at least now it’s possible. If you have tinnitus today, that signifies a substantial increase in hope. And other solutions are also being studied. Every new finding, every new bit of understanding, brings that cure for tinnitus just a bit closer.
Ca Anything be Done Now?
If you have a prolonged ringing or buzzing in your ears today, the potential of a far off pill could give you hope – but not necessarily relief. There are modern treatments for tinnitus that can produce real results, even if they don’t really “cure” the underlying problem.
Some techniques include noise-cancellation devices or cognitive therapies manufactured to help you dismiss the noises connected to your tinnitus. You don’t have to wait for a cure to get relief, you can get help dealing 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. Get in touch with us for a consultation today.