Learning to live with tinnitus is often how you manage it. You leave the television on to help you tune out the constant ringing. You skip going dancing because the loudness of the bar makes your tinnitus worse for days. You’re constantly trying new treatments and strategies with your specialist. You just work tinnitus into your daily life after a while.
Tinnitus doesn’t have a cure so you feel powerless. But that might be changing. New research published in PLOS Biology indicates that an reliable and permanent cure for tinnitus may be coming soon.
Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus normally manifests as a ringing or buzzing in the ear (although, tinnitus may be experienced as other noises too) that do not have an objective cause. A condition that impacts over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s very common for people to have tinnitus.
And it isn’t a cause itself but an indication of something else. In other words, something causes tinnitus – tinnitus symptoms are the outcome of some root concern. One reason why a “cure” for tinnitus is elusive is that these root causes can be hard to pin down. Tinnitus symptoms can occur due to numerous reasons.
It is true, most people attribute tinnitus to hearing loss of some type, but even that connection is unclear. There is some link but there are some people who have tinnitus and don’t have any loss of hearing.
A New Culprit: Inflammation
Dr. Shaowen Bao, who is associate professor of physiology at Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon has recently published a study. Dr. Bao performed experiments on mice who had tinnitus induced by noise-induced loss of hearing. And what she and her team discovered implies a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
Inflammation was seen in the brain areas responsible for hearing when scans were performed on these mice. These tests indicate that noise-induced hearing loss is producing some unknown damage because inflammation is the body’s response to damage.
But this discovery of inflammation also brings about the opportunity for a new type of therapy. Because we understand (generally speaking) how to deal with inflammation. When the mice were given medication that inhibited the observed inflammation response, the symptoms of tinnitus disappeared. Or, at a minimum, those symptoms weren’t observable any longer
Does This Mean There’s a Pill for Tinnitus?
If you take a patient enough viewpoint, you can probably look at this study and see how, one day, there could easily be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–rather than investing in these various coping elements, you can just take a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus at bay.
There are a few obstacles but that is certainly the goal:
- We still have to prove if any new method is safe; it could take a while to determine specific side effects, complications, or challenges related to these particular medications that block inflammation.
- Not everyone’s tinnitus will be caused the same way; it’s really difficult to know (at this point) whether all or even most tinnitus is related to inflammation of some type.
- First off, these experiments were conducted on mice. This strategy isn’t yet approved for people and it may be a while before it is.
So it could be pretty far off before we have a pill to treat tinnitus. But at least it’s now achievable. That should give anybody who has tinnitus considerable hope. And, obviously, this strategy in managing tinnitus is not the only one currently being studied. That cure gets closer with every bit of knowledge and every new discovery.
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 provide real results.
Some techniques include noise-cancellation units or cognitive therapies created to help you ignore the sounds connected to your tinnitus. You don’t need to wait for a cure to get relief, you can find help coping 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 need to let us help you discover a therapy that works for you. Schedule your appointment today.