When you suffer from tinnitus, you learn to live with it. To help tune it out you keep the television on. You avoid going dancing because the loudness of the bar causes your tinnitus to get worse for days. You’re regularly trying new therapies and strategies with your specialist. Eventually, your tinnitus just becomes something you work into your daily life.
Tinnitus has no cure so you feel helpless. But that may be changing. New research published in PLOS Biology seems to offer promise that we might be getting closer to a permanent and reliable cure for tinnitus.
You’re experiencing tinnitus if you hear a buzzing or ringing (or at times other sounds) with no objective cause. A condition that impacts over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s very common for people to have tinnitus.
It’s also a symptom, in general, and not a cause in and of itself. Put simply, something triggers tinnitus – tinnitus symptoms are the result of some underlying concern. One of the reasons why a “cure” for tinnitus is evasive is that these root causes can be challenging to narrow down. There are lots of possible reasons for tinnitus symptoms.
Even the interaction between tinnitus and hearing loss is not clear even though most people connect the two. There’s a correlation, certainly, but not all people who have tinnitus also have loss of hearing (and vice versa).
Inflammation: a New Culprit
Dr. Shaowen Bao, who is associate professor of physiology at Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon has recently published a study. Dr. Bao did experiments on mice who had tinnitus induced by noise-induced loss of hearing. And a new culprit for tinnitus was discovered by her and her team: inflammation.
Based on the scans and tests done on these mice, inflammation was seen in the areas of the brain in control of listening. These Scans indicate that noise-induced hearing loss is producing some unidentified injury because inflammation is the body’s response to damage.
But this finding of inflammation also leads to the possibility of a new form of therapy. Because we understand (generally speaking) how to deal with inflammation. The tinnitus symptoms disappear 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?
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 avoid all of the coping mechanisms you need to do now.
There are some obstacles but that is certainly the goal:
- There are many causes for tinnitus; Which specific types of tinnitus are connected to inflammation is still unclear.
- We still have to prove if any new approach is safe; these inflammation blocking medications might have harmful side effects that still need to be identified.
- These experiments were performed first on mice. This approach isn’t yet approved for people and it may be a while before it is.
So it could be a long way off before we have a pill for tinnitus. But at least now it’s possible. If you suffer from tinnitus today, that signifies a significant increase in hope. And, obviously, this approach in treating tinnitus is not the only one presently 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 prolonged ringing or buzzing in your ears now, the promise of a far off pill might give you hope – but not necessarily relief. Current treatments might not “cure” your tinnitus but they do produce real results.
Being able to tune out or ignore tinnitus sounds, sometimes utilizing noise canceling headphones or cognitive therapies is what modern techniques are aiming to do. A cure may be a number of years off, but that doesn’t mean you should cope with tinnitus on your own or unassisted. Finding a therapy that works can help you spend more time doing what you love, and less time thinking about that buzzing or ringing in your ears. Get in touch with us for a consultation today.