When you have tinnitus, you learn to deal with it. To help tune it out you leave the television on. And loud music at bars is causing your hearing loss to get worse so you avoid going dancing. You’re always trying new solutions and techniques with your specialist. You just fold tinnitus into your everyday life after a while.
Tinnitus has no cure so you feel helpless. Changes may be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology seems to give hope that we might be getting closer to a permanent and effective cure for tinnitus.
Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus usually is experienced as a ringing or buzzing in the ear (though, tinnitus might be experienced as other noises also) that don’t have a concrete cause. A condition 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, broadly speaking, and not a cause unto itself. Put simply, something causes tinnitus – there’s an underlying issue that creates tinnitus symptoms. One reason why a “cure” for tinnitus is elusive is that these underlying causes can be challenging to narrow down. Tinnitus symptoms can occur due to numerous reasons.
True, most people attribute tinnitus to hearing loss of some kind, but even that relationship is unclear. There is some connection but some people 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 released research. Mice that had tinnitus triggered by noise induced hearing loss were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And a new culprit for tinnitus was discovered by her and her team: inflammation.
Inflammation was found around the brain areas used for hearing when scans were done to these mice. These Scans suggest that noise-induced hearing loss is contributing to some unidentified injury because inflammation is the body’s reaction to damage.
But a new kind of approach is also made available by these results. Because we know (generally speaking) how to handle inflammation. When the mice were given drugs that impeded the observed inflammation reaction, the symptoms of tinnitus disappeared. Or, at least, those symptoms were no longer observable.
Does This Mean There’s a Pill to Treat Tinnitus?
If you take a long enough viewpoint, you can definitely look at this research and see how, one day, there could definitely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine if keeping your tinnitus under control was a routine matter of taking your morning medicine and you could escape from all of the coping mechanisms you have to do now.
That’s definitely the objective, but there are different huge obstacles in the way:
- To begin with, these experiments were done on mice. This approach is not yet approved for people and it could be some time before that happens.
- There are several causes for tinnitus; Whether any particular forms of tinnitus are associated with inflammation is still unclear.
- Any new approach needs to be proven safe; it might take some time to identify precise side effects, complications, or problems related to these specific inflammation-blocking medications.
So it could be a long way off before we get a pill for tinnitus. But it isn’t impossible. If you have tinnitus today, that signifies a significant increase in hope. And, of course, this strategy in managing tinnitus is not the only one currently being researched. That cure gets closer with every bit of practical knowledge and every new discovery.
Ca Anything be Done Now?
If you have a continual buzzing or ringing in your ears now, the potential of a far off pill may provide you with hope – but not necessarily relief. There are current treatments for tinnitus that can produce real results, even if they don’t really “cure” the root issue.
Some techniques include noise-cancellation units or cognitive therapies created to help you ignore the noises linked to your tinnitus. A cure might be several years off, but that doesn’t mean you should deal with tinnitus alone or unaided. Spending less time stressing about the buzzing or ringing in your ears and more time doing what you enjoy is the reason why you need to let us help you discover a treatment that works for you. Contact us for a consultation now.