When you suffer from tinnitus, you learn to cope with it. To help tune it out you leave the television on. You avoid going dancing because the loudness of the bar makes your tinnitus worse for days after. You consult with specialists frequently to try new treatments and new techniques. You just fold tinnitus into your daily life after a while.
Tinnitus has no 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.
Tinnitus normally is experienced as a ringing or buzzing in the ear (although, tinnitus could be present as other noises as well) that do not have an objective cause. A problem that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, tinnitus is incredibly common.
And it isn’t a cause itself but a symptom of something else. Put simply, tinnitus is caused by something else – tinnitus symptoms are the outcome of some underlying problem. One reason why a “cure” for tinnitus is elusive is that these root causes can be challenging to pin down. There are many possible reasons for tinnitus symptoms.
Even the relationship between tinnitus and hearing loss is uncertain even though the majority of people associate the two. There is some connection but there are some people who 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 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 tests and scans done on these mice, inflammation was found around the areas of the brain responsible for hearing. These Scans indicate that noise-induced hearing loss is producing some unidentified damage because inflammation is the body’s response to damage.
But a new kind of treatment is also opened up by these findings. Because we understand (generally speaking) how to handle inflammation. The tinnitus symptoms went away when the mice were treated for inflammation. Or at the very least there were no longer observable symptoms of tinnitus.
Does This Mean There’s a Pill to Treat Tinnitus?
If you take a patient enough view, you can probably look at this study and see how, one day, there could definitely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine if keeping your tinnitus at bay was a routine matter of taking your morning medicine and you could escape from all of the coping mechanisms you need to do now.
That’s clearly the goal, but there are numerous substantial obstacles in the way:
- All new approaches need to be proven safe; it might take a while to identify specific side effects, complications, or issues related to these particular inflammation-blocking medications.
- There are various causes for tinnitus; it’s really difficult to know (at this point) whether all or even most tinnitus is associated with inflammation of some kind.
- These experiments were first performed on mice. And there’s a long way to go before this particular method is safe and authorized for use on humans.
So it could be a long way off before we get a pill for tinnitus. But at least it’s now possible. That should offer anyone who has tinnitus substantial hope. And, clearly, this strategy in treating tinnitus is not the only one presently being studied. Every new finding, every new bit of knowledge, brings that cure for tinnitus just a bit nearer.
Ca Anything be Done Now?
If you have a chronic buzzing or ringing in your ears now, the promise of a far off pill could provide you with hope – but not necessarily relief. There are modern treatments for tinnitus that can produce real results, even if they don’t necessarily “cure” the root issue.
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. A cure might be several years off, but that doesn’t mean you should deal with tinnitus by yourself or unassisted. Finding a treatment that works can help you spend more time doing what you enjoy, and less time thinking about that buzzing or ringing in your ears. Get in touch with us for a consultation today.