Learning to live with tinnitus is often how you manage it. To help tune it out you keep the television on. You avoid going dancing because the loudness of the bar makes your tinnitus worse for days after. You’re regularly trying new therapies and strategies with your hearing care expert. Eventually, your tinnitus simply becomes something you work into your daily way of life.
Tinnitus doesn’t have a cure so you feel powerless. But that may be changing. New research published in PLOS Biology seems to give promise that we might be getting closer to a permanent and effective cure for tinnitus.
Tinnitus usually is experienced as a ringing or buzzing in the ear (although, tinnitus may be present as other sounds too) that do not have a concrete cause. A problem that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s remarkably common for people to suffer from tinnitus.
It’s also a symptom, generally speaking, and not a cause in and of itself. Simply put, tinnitus is triggered by something else – tinnitus symptoms are the outcome of some root problem. One reason why a “cure” for tinnitus is elusive is that these underlying causes can be difficult to narrow down. Tinnitus symptoms can appear due to quite a few reasons.
Even the relationship between tinnitus and loss of hearing is uncertain although most 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
Dr. Shaowen Bao, who is associate professor of physiology at Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon has recently published research. Mice that had tinnitus brought about by noise induced hearing loss were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And what she and her team discovered implies a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
Based on the tests and scans done on these mice, inflammation was seen in the parts of the brain responsible for hearing. These tests indicate that noise-induced hearing loss is causing some unknown damage because inflammation is the body’s reaction to damage.
But a new kind of treatment is also opened up by these results. Because we know (generally speaking) how to handle inflammation. The tinnitus symptoms disappear when the mice were treated for inflammation. Or, at a minimum, those symptoms weren’t observable any longer
So is There a Pill For Tinnitus?
One day there will likely 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.
That’s certainly the objective, but there are numerous huge hurdles in the way:
- There are a number of causes for tinnitus; Which particular types of tinnitus are associated with inflammation is still not certain.
- All new approaches need to be proven safe; it may take some time to identify precise side effects, complications, or issues related to these particular medications that block inflammation.
- To start with, these experiments were performed on mice. This method is not yet approved for humans and it might be a while before it is.
So, a pill for tinnitus might be pretty far off. But at least it’s now feasible. If you have tinnitus today, that means a significant boost in hope. And, of course, this approach in treating tinnitus is not the only one presently being researched. Every new discovery, every new bit of understanding, brings that cure for tinnitus just a little bit closer.
Ca Anything be Done Now?
You may have hope for an eventual tinnitus pill but that isn’t going to offer you any comfort for your chronic buzzing or ringing now. Modern treatments may not “cure” your tinnitus but they do produce real results.
Being able to tune out or ignore tinnitus noises, oftentimes employing noise canceling headphones or cognitive techniques is what modern techniques are aiming to do. You don’t need to wait for a cure to find relief, you can find help dealing with your tinnitus right now. Discovering a therapy that works can help you spend more time doing what you love, and less time thinking about that buzzing or ringing in your ears. Get in touch with us for a consultation now.