When you suffer from tinnitus, you learn to cope with it. You keep the television on to help you tune the constant ringing out. And loud music at bars is making your tinnitus worse so you stay away from going dancing. You check in with experts constantly to try new treatments and new strategies. Eventually, your tinnitus simply becomes something you fold into your everyday life.
Mostly, that’s because there isn’t any cure for tinnitus. But that could be changing. New research published in PLOS Biology seems to give hope that we might be getting closer to a permanent and effective cure for tinnitus.
You’re dealing with tinnitus if you hear a ringing or buzzing (or in some cases other sounds) with no apparent cause. A condition that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, tinnitus is incredibly common.
It’s also a symptom, generally speaking, and not a cause in and of itself. Simply put, tinnitus is caused by something else – there’s an underlying issue that brings about tinnitus symptoms. One reason why a “cure” for tinnitus is elusive is that these root causes can be difficult to narrow down. There are various possible causes for tinnitus symptoms.
True, most people attribute tinnitus to hearing loss of some type, but even that connection is uncertain. There’s a relationship, certainly, but not all people who have tinnitus also have hearing loss (and vice versa).
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. Dr. Bao performed experiments on mice who had tinnitus induced by noise-induced hearing loss. 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 done to these mice. These Scans suggest that noise-induced hearing loss is contributing to some unknown injury because inflammation is the body’s reaction to damage.
But this finding of inflammation also leads to the opportunity for a new type of treatment. Because we understand (generally speaking) how to handle inflammation. The tinnitus symptoms went away when the mice were treated for inflammation. Or, at least, those symptoms weren’t observable any longer
So is There a Pill For Tinnitus?
If you take a patient enough viewpoint, you can probably look at this research and see how, one day, there could easily be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine if keeping your tinnitus at bay was a routine matter of taking your morning medication and you could escape from all of the coping mechanisms you need to do now.
There are a few hurdles but that is certainly the goal:
- We still need to establish whether any new strategy is safe; it may take a while to determine specific side effects, complications, or issues related to these specific medications that block inflammation.
- First, these experiments were done on mice. This method is not yet approved for people and it might be quite some time before it is.
- Not everybody’s tinnitus will be caused the same way; it’s difficult to understand (for now) whether all or even most tinnitus is associated with inflammation of some type.
So, a pill for tinnitus may be a long way off. But it isn’t impossible. If you suffer from tinnitus today, that means a substantial increase in hope. And other techniques are also being researched. That cure gets closer with every bit of knowledge and every new discovery.
What Can You do Today?
If you have a continual ringing or buzzing in your ears today, the potential of a far off pill could give you hope – but probably not relief. Current treatments may not “cure” your tinnitus but they do give real results.
Being able to tune out or ignore tinnitus sounds, sometimes employing noise canceling headphones or cognitive techniques is what modern methods are trying to do. You don’t need to wait for a cure to get relief, you can find help dealing with your tinnitus now. Spending less time being stressed 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 right away.