Figuring out how 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 stay away from going dancing. You check in with experts frequently to try out new solutions and new strategies. You simply fold tinnitus into your everyday life after a while.
For the most part, that’s because there’s no cure for tinnitus. But that might be changing. New research published in PLOS Biology suggests that an reliable and permanent cure for tinnitus could be on the horizon.
Tinnitus commonly manifests as a ringing or buzzing in the ear (although, tinnitus may be present as other sounds too) that do not have an objective cause. A problem that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, tinnitus is exceptionally common.
It’s also a symptom, in general, and not a cause in and of itself. Put simply, something triggers tinnitus – there’s a root problem that creates tinnitus symptoms. These underlying causes can be hard to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is elusive. Tinnitus symptoms can appear due to numerous reasons.
Even the relationship between tinnitus and loss of hearing is uncertain although the majority of people associate the two. There is some relationship but some people have tinnitus and don’t have any hearing loss.
Inflammation: a New Culprit
The new study published in PLOS Biology outlined a study lead 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 hearing loss were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And what she and her team found out implies a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
Based on the scans and tests performed on these mice, inflammation was observed in the parts of the brain in control of hearing. These tests indicate that noise-induced hearing loss is producing some unknown damage because inflammation is the body’s response to damage.
But this finding of inflammation also leads to the possibility of a new kind of therapy. Because handling inflammation is something we understand how to do (in general). When the mice were given medication that inhibited the detected inflammation reaction, the symptoms of tinnitus vanished. Or, at a minimum, those symptoms weren’t observable any longer
Does This Mean There’s a Pill for Tinnitus?
One day there will likely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–instead of investing in these various coping mechanisms, you can just take a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus under control.
There are a few obstacles but that is certainly the goal:
- These experiments were first performed on mice. And it will be a while before this particular approach is safe and approved for humans.
- There are a number of causes for tinnitus; it’s hard to understand (for now) whether all or even most tinnitus is connected to inflammation of some kind.
- All new approaches need to be proven safe; it might take some time to determine specific side effects, complications, or issues related to these specific medications that block inflammation.
So, a pill to treat tinnitus might be pretty far off. But it isn’t impossible. If you suffer from tinnitus now, that means a substantial boost in hope. And, clearly, this approach 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 comfort for your prolonged buzzing or ringing now. Current treatments may not “cure” your tinnitus but they do produce real results.
Being able to tune out or ignore tinnitus sounds, sometimes employing noise canceling headphones or cognitive techniques is what modern strategies are aiming to do. A cure may be several years away, but that doesn’t mean you have to deal with tinnitus by yourself or unaided. Spending less time worrying 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. Get in touch with us for a consultation right away.