When you have tinnitus, you learn to live with it. You keep the television on to help you tune the constant ringing out. And loud music at bars is causing your hearing loss to get worse so you stay away from going dancing. You check in with experts regularly to try out new solutions and new strategies. You just fold tinnitus into your everyday life eventually.
Tinnitus has no cure so you feel powerless. Changes may be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology seems to give hope that we could be getting closer to a permanent and reliable cure for tinnitus.
You’re experiencing tinnitus if you hear a ringing or buzzing (or occasionally other sounds) with no objective cause. A condition that impacts over 50 million people in the United States alone, tinnitus is exceptionally common.
And it isn’t a cause itself but a symptom of some other problem. Put simply, tinnitus is triggered by something else – tinnitus symptoms are the outcome of some root problem. These underlying causes can be tough to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is challenging. There are various possible reasons for tinnitus symptoms.
True, the majority of people connect tinnitus to loss of hearing of some kind, but even that relationship is not clear. There is some relationship but some people have tinnitus and don’t have any hearing loss.
Inflammation: a New Culprit
The new study published in PLOS Biology outlined a study lead by Dr. Shaowen Bao, an associate professor of physiology at the Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon. Dr. Bao did experiments on mice who had tinnitus caused by noise-induced loss of hearing. And a new culprit for tinnitus was uncovered by her and her team: inflammation.
Based on the scans and tests carried out on these mice, inflammation was seen in the areas of the brain in control of listening. As inflammation is the body’s reaction to injury, this finding does indicate that noise-induced hearing loss could be creating some damage we don’t thoroughly understand yet.
But this finding of inflammation also brings about the possibility of a new form of treatment. Because we understand (generally speaking) how to deal with inflammation. When the mice were given medication that impeded the detected inflammation reaction, the symptoms of tinnitus faded away. Or, at least, those symptoms weren’t observable any longer
So is There a Pill to Treat Tinnitus?
If you take a long enough viewpoint, you can probably look at this research and see how, one day, there may easily be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–instead of investing in these various coping elements, you can just pop a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus at bay.
There are a few hurdles but that is certainly the goal:
- All new approaches need to be confirmed to be safe; it may take some time to determine precise side effects, concerns, or challenges related to these specific medications that block inflammation.
- Not everyone’s tinnitus will be caused the same way; Which particular types of tinnitus are related to inflammation is still not certain.
- These experiments were performed first on mice. This method isn’t approved yet for humans and it may be some time before that happens.
So it could be a long way off before we have a pill for tinnitus. But it’s no longer impossible. If you have tinnitus now, that represents a substantial increase in hope. And other strategies are also being researched. That cure gets closer and closer with every bit of practical knowledge and every new discovery.
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 current therapies for tinnitus that can deliver real results, even if they don’t necessarily “cure” the root problem.
Being able to tune out or ignore tinnitus noises, oftentimes employing noise canceling headphones or cognitive therapies is what modern strategies are striving to do. A cure may be a number of years off, but that doesn’t mean you have to deal with tinnitus by yourself or unassisted. Discovering a therapy 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 now.