Learning to live with tinnitus is often how you manage it. You leave the television on to help you tune the constant ringing out. You avoid going dancing because the loud music at the bar causes your tinnitus to get worse for days. You’re always trying new therapies and techniques with your hearing care expert. Eventually, your tinnitus just becomes something you work into your everyday way of life.
For the most part, that’s because there’s no cure for tinnitus. Changes could be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology indicates that an effective and permanent cure for tinnitus could be on the horizon.
Causes of Tinnitus
You’re experiencing tinnitus if you hear a buzzing or ringing (or sometimes other sounds) with no objective cause. A condition that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, tinnitus is incredibly common.
And it isn’t a cause itself but an indication of some other problem. Simply put, tinnitus is caused by something else – tinnitus symptoms are the result of some root concern. One of the reasons why a “cure” for tinnitus is evasive is that these root causes can be hard to pin down. There are lots of possible causes for tinnitus symptoms.
It is true, the majority of people connect tinnitus to hearing loss of some type, but even that connection is not clear. There is some connection but some people have tinnitus and don’t have any loss of hearing.
A New Culprit: Inflammation
The new study published in PLOS Biology highlighted a study performed by Dr. Shaowen Bao, an associate professor of physiology at the Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon. Mice that had tinnitus triggered by noise induced loss of hearing were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And a new culprit for tinnitus was uncovered by her and her team: inflammation.
According to the scans and tests done on these mice, inflammation was seen around the areas of the brain in control of hearing. These tests suggest that noise-induced hearing loss is producing some unidentified injury because inflammation is the body’s response to damage.
But this discovery of inflammation also leads to the opportunity for a new type of treatment. Because we know (generally speaking) how to handle inflammation. When the mice were given medication that impeded the observed inflammation response, the symptoms of tinnitus faded away. Or, at a minimum, those symptoms weren’t observable any longer
Does This Mean There’s a Pill for Tinnitus?
If you take a long enough view, you can probably look at this study and see how, one day, there could definitely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–instead of investing in these various coping elements, 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:
- All new approaches need to be proven safe; these inflammation blocking medications might have dangerous side effects that could take some time to identify.
- There are a number of causes for tinnitus; Whether any particular types of tinnitus are related to inflammation is still not certain.
- These experiments were first performed on mice. And there’s a long way to go before this particular strategy is safe and approved for people.
So, a pill to treat tinnitus might be a long way off. But it’s no longer impossible. If you have tinnitus today, that means a tremendous increase in hope. And other strategies are also being researched. Every new finding, every new bit of understanding, brings that cure for tinnitus just a little bit nearer.
Ca Anything be Done Now?
If you have a prolonged ringing or buzzing in your ears today, the promise of a far off pill may provide you with hope – but probably not relief. Modern treatments might not “cure” your tinnitus but they do produce real results.
Being able to tune out or ignore tinnitus sounds, oftentimes utilizing noise canceling headphones or cognitive techniques is what modern techniques are aiming to do. A cure might be a number of years off, but that doesn’t mean you should deal with tinnitus alone or unaided. Spending less time stressing about the buzzing or ringing in your ears and more time doing what you love is the reason why you need to let us help you discover a therapy that works for you. Make your appointment today.