When you suffer from tinnitus, you learn to cope with it. You keep the television on to help you tune the constant ringing out. You avoid going dancing because the loudness of the bar makes your tinnitus worse for days. You consult with specialists regularly to try out new solutions and new strategies. Eventually, your tinnitus just becomes something you fold into your daily way of life.
Tinnitus has no cure so you feel powerless. Changes might be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology suggests that an reliable and permanent cure for tinnitus could be coming soon.
You’re suffering from tinnitus if you hear a buzzing or ringing (or in some cases other noises) with no objective cause. A condition that impacts over 50 million people in the United States alone, tinnitus is remarkably common.
It’s also a symptom, broadly speaking, and not a cause unto itself. Simply put, tinnitus is caused by something else – there’s an underlying issue that brings about tinnitus symptoms. One of the reasons why a “cure” for tinnitus is challenging is that these underlying causes can be difficult to pin down. There are numerous possible reasons for tinnitus symptoms.
Even the connection between tinnitus and hearing loss is not clear even though the majority of people connect the two. There’s a connection, certainly, but not all people who suffer from tinnitus also have hearing loss (and vice versa).
Inflammation: a New Culprit
The new research 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 caused by noise induced loss of hearing were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And what she and her team discovered suggests a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
Inflammation was seen in the brain centers responsible for hearing when scans were done to these mice. These Scans suggest that noise-induced hearing loss is producing some unidentified injury because inflammation is the body’s reaction to damage.
But a new form of approach is also opened up by these results. Because handling inflammation is something we know how to do (generally). When the mice were given drugs that impeded the detected inflammation response, the symptoms of tinnitus vanished. Or, at a minimum, those symptoms weren’t observable any longer
Does This Mean There’s a Pill for Tinnitus?
One day there will probably be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine if keeping your tinnitus at bay was a simple matter of taking your morning medication and you could escape from all of the coping mechanisms you have to do now.
There are a few obstacles but that is certainly the goal:
- To start with, these experiments were done on mice. And there’s a long way to go before this particular strategy is safe and approved for humans.
- We still have to establish whether any new method is safe; these inflammation blocking medications could have harmful side effects that still need to be identified.
- There are many causes for tinnitus; it’s really difficult to know (at this point) whether all or even most tinnitus is associated with inflammation of some type.
So, a pill to treat tinnitus could be pretty far off. But at least it’s now achievable. If you suffer from tinnitus today, that signifies a substantial increase in hope. And, clearly, this approach in dealing with tinnitus is not the only one currently being studied. Every new discovery, every new bit of understanding, brings that cure for tinnitus a little bit closer.
Ca Anything be Done Now?
If you have a chronic ringing or buzzing in your ears today, the promise of a far off pill might give you hope – but not necessarily relief. There are modern treatments for tinnitus that can produce real results, even if they don’t really “cure” the underlying issue.
Being able to tune out or ignore tinnitus sounds, sometimes utilizing noise canceling headphones or cognitive therapies is what modern strategies are aiming to do. A cure could be several years off, but that doesn’t mean you have to deal with tinnitus by yourself or unassisted. Spending less time worrying about the ringing or buzzing in your ears and more time doing what you love is the reason why you should let us help you find a treatment that works for you. Get in touch with us for a consultation now.