Learning to cope with tinnitus is often how you manage it. To help tune it out you keep the television on. And loud music at bars is causing your hearing loss to get worse so you avoid going dancing. You’re regularly trying new therapies and strategies with your hearing care expert. Eventually, your tinnitus simply becomes something you fold into your daily way of life.
Tinnitus doesn’t have a cure so you feel helpless. Changes might be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology suggests that an reliable and permanent cure for tinnitus could be coming.
Tinnitus usually manifests as a buzzing or ringing in the ear (though, tinnitus may be experienced as other noises as well) that do not have an objective cause. A condition that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s remarkably common for people to have tinnitus.
And it’s not a cause itself but an indication of some other problem. Put simply, something triggers tinnitus – there’s an underlying issue that brings about tinnitus symptoms. One reason why a “cure” for tinnitus is elusive is that these underlying causes can be hard to pin down. There are various possible causes for tinnitus symptoms.
It is true, the majority of people connect tinnitus to loss of hearing of some kind, but even that relationship is uncertain. There is some relationship but some people have tinnitus and don’t have any hearing loss.
A New Culprit: Inflammation
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 triggered by noise-induced hearing loss. And what she and her team observed implies a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
According to the scans and tests carried out on these mice, inflammation was observed across the parts of the brain responsible for hearing. As inflammation is the body’s response to damage, this finding does suggest that noise-induced hearing loss may be creating some damage we don’t thoroughly understand yet.
But a new kind of approach is also opened up by these results. Because handling inflammation is something we know how to do (generally). The tinnitus symptoms disappear 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 For Tinnitus?
If you take a long enough viewpoint, you can probably look at this study and see how, one day, there could easily be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine if keeping your tinnitus at bay was a simple matter of taking your morning medication and you could avoid all of the coping mechanisms you need to do now.
There are a few hurdles but that is certainly the goal:
- There are many causes for tinnitus; it’s really difficult to know (for now) whether all or even most tinnitus is connected to inflammation of some kind.
- We still need to establish whether any new approach is safe; it might take a while to determine specific side effects, complications, or challenges related to these particular inflammation-blocking medications.
- These experiments were first performed on mice. And it will be a while before this particular method is safe and authorized for use on humans.
So, a pill to treat tinnitus might be a long way off. But at least now it’s feasible. That should give anyone who has tinnitus considerable hope. And other techniques are also being researched. Every new discovery, every new bit of knowledge, brings that cure for tinnitus just a bit nearer.
Ca Anything be Done Now?
If you have a prolonged buzzing or ringing in your ears now, the potential of a far off pill may provide you with hope – but probably not relief. There are modern treatments for tinnitus that can deliver real results, even if they don’t necessarily “cure” the underlying problem.
Being able to tune out or ignore tinnitus noises, sometimes using noise canceling headphones or cognitive techniques is what modern techniques are striving to do. You don’t have to wait for a cure to find relief, you can get help dealing with your tinnitus right now. Spending less time stressing about the ringing or buzzing in your ears and more time doing what you love is the reason why you should let us help you discover a treatment that works for you. Get in touch with us for a consultation right away.