Learning to live with tinnitus is often how you manage it. You keep the television on to help you tune out the constant ringing. You avoid going dancing because the loudness of the bar makes your tinnitus worse for days after. You consult with specialists frequently to try out new therapies and new techniques. Eventually, your tinnitus just becomes something you fold into your daily life.
Tinnitus doesn’t have a cure so you feel helpless. But that might be changing. New research published in PLOS Biology indicates that an reliable and permanent cure for tinnitus may be coming soon.
You’re experiencing tinnitus if you hear a ringing or buzzing (or at times other sounds) with no apparent cause. A problem that impacts over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s very common for people to suffer from tinnitus.
It’s also a symptom, in general, and not a cause in and of itself. Put simply, something causes tinnitus – tinnitus symptoms are the outcome of some underlying problem. These underlying causes can be tough to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is elusive. There are various possible reasons for tinnitus symptoms.
Even the association between tinnitus and hearing loss is unclear though most people link the two. There is some connection but there are some people who have tinnitus and don’t have any loss of hearing.
Inflammation: a New Culprit
Dr. Shaowen Bao, who is associate professor of physiology at Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon has recently published research. Dr. Bao did experiments on mice who had tinnitus induced by noise-induced loss of hearing. And what she and her team found out implies a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
According to the tests and scans performed on these mice, inflammation was seen in the parts of the brain responsible for listening. As inflammation is the body’s response to injury, this finding does suggest that noise-induced loss of hearing could be causing some damage we don’t completely understand yet.
But this finding of inflammation also brings about the possibility of a new type of treatment. Because dealing with inflammation is something we understand how to do (in general). The tinnitus symptoms went away when the mice were treated for inflammation. Or at the very least there were no longer observable symptoms of tinnitus.
So is There a Pill For Tinnitus?
If you take a long enough view, you can probably look at this study and see how, one day, there could easily be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine if keeping your tinnitus at bay was a routine matter of taking your morning medicine and you could avoid all of the coping mechanisms you need to do now.
That’s definitely the goal, but there are several significant obstacles in the way:
- We still need to establish whether any new strategy is safe; it may take some time to identify specific side effects, complications, or challenges related to these specific inflammation-blocking medications.
- There are various causes for tinnitus; it’s difficult to understand (at this point) whether all or even most tinnitus is related to inflammation of some type.
- These experiments were first performed on mice. And there’s a long way to go before this particular strategy is safe and authorized for use on people.
So it could be pretty far off before we have a pill for tinnitus. But at least it’s now possible. That should offer anyone who has tinnitus considerable hope. And other strategies are also being studied. That cure gets closer and closer with every bit of knowledge and every new discovery.
What Can You do Today?
If you have a continual ringing or buzzing in your ears today, the promise of a far off pill could give you hope – but probably not relief. Modern treatments might not “cure” your tinnitus but they do offer real results.
Some strategies include noise-cancellation devices or cognitive therapies designed to help you brush aside the sounds connected to your tinnitus. A cure might be a number of years away, but that doesn’t mean you have to deal with tinnitus alone or unaided. Spending less time worrying about the ringing or buzzing in your ears and more time doing what you love is the reason why you need to let us help you discover a therapy that works for you. Get in touch with us for a consultation today.