When you have tinnitus, you learn to live with it. To help tune it out you leave the television on. You skip going dancing because the loud music at the bar makes your tinnitus worse for days. You check in with experts regularly to try new treatments and new strategies. Eventually, your tinnitus just becomes something you work into your daily life.
Mostly, that’s because there’s no cure for tinnitus. Changes may be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology shows that an reliable and permanent cure for tinnitus could be on the horizon.
Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus commonly is experienced as a ringing or buzzing in the ear (although, tinnitus could be experienced as other noises as well) that do not have an objective cause. A problem that impacts over 50 million people in the United States alone, tinnitus is remarkably common.
And it’s not a cause itself but an indication of something else. In other words, something causes tinnitus – tinnitus symptoms are the outcome of some underlying concern. These underlying causes can be difficult to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is evasive. There are various possible causes for tinnitus symptoms.
Even the link between tinnitus and loss of hearing is not clear although most people connect the two. There’s a correlation, sure, but not all people who have tinnitus also have loss of hearing (and vice versa).
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. Dr. Bao performed experiments on mice who had tinnitus induced by noise-induced loss of hearing. And what she and her team observed indicates a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
According to the scans and tests carried out on these mice, inflammation was observed around the areas of the brain in control of listening. These Scans reveal that noise-induced hearing loss is causing some unknown damage because inflammation is the body’s reaction to damage.
But a new form of treatment is also opened up by these findings. Because handling inflammation is something we know how to do (in general). When the mice were given medication that inhibited the observed inflammation reaction, the symptoms of tinnitus faded away. Or, at least, those symptoms were no longer observable.
So is There a Pill to Treat Tinnitus?
If you take a patient enough viewpoint, you can definitely look at this research and see how, one day, there may easily be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–instead of counting on these various coping mechanisms, you can just take a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus at bay.
There are a couple of hurdles but that is certainly the goal:
- All new approaches need to be confirmed to be safe; these inflammation blocking medications could have dangerous side effects that could take some time to identify.
- These experiments were first performed on mice. And it will be a while before this particular strategy is safe and approved for humans.
- There are many causes for tinnitus; Whether any specific forms of tinnitus are related to inflammation is still unclear.
So it could be a long way off before we get a pill for tinnitus. But it’s no longer impossible. If you suffer from tinnitus now, that represents a tremendous increase in hope. And other solutions are also being studied. Every new finding, every new bit of understanding, brings that cure for tinnitus a little bit nearer.
Ca Anything be Done Now?
You could have hope for an eventual tinnitus pill but that isn’t going to give you any comfort for your constant buzzing or ringing now. Modern treatments might not “cure” your tinnitus but they do offer real results.
Some methods include noise-cancellation units or cognitive therapies manufactured to help you brush aside the sounds linked to your tinnitus. A cure could be several years off, but that doesn’t mean you have to cope with tinnitus on your own or unaided. 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.