Figuring out how 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 causes your tinnitus to get worse for days. You’re regularly trying new treatments and techniques with your specialist. You just work tinnitus into your everyday life eventually.
Tinnitus doesn’t have a cure so you feel powerless. Changes could be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology shows that an effective and permanent cure for tinnitus might be coming soon.
Tinnitus usually manifests as a ringing or buzzing in the ear (though, tinnitus might be experienced as other noises too) that don’t have a concrete cause. A problem that impacts over 50 million people in the United States alone, tinnitus is very common.
And it’s not a cause itself but a symptom of something else. Simply put, tinnitus is triggered by something else – there’s an underlying issue that brings about tinnitus symptoms. These underlying causes can be tough to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is evasive. There are lots of possible reasons for tinnitus symptoms.
It is true, the majority of people attribute tinnitus to loss of hearing of some kind, but even that connection is unclear. There’s a connection, sure, but not all people who have tinnitus also have loss of hearing (and vice versa).
A New Culprit: Inflammation
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 caused by noise-induced hearing loss. And what she and her team discovered suggests a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
According to the scans and tests carried out on these mice, inflammation was seen across the parts of the brain in control of listening. As inflammation is the body’s reaction to damage, this finding does suggest that noise-induced loss of hearing might be creating some damage we don’t completely understand yet.
But this finding of inflammation also brings about the opportunity for a new kind of therapy. Because handling inflammation is something we know 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 to Treat Tinnitus?
One day there will likely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine if keeping your tinnitus at bay was a simple matter of taking your morning medicine and you could avoid all of the coping mechanisms you have to do now.
That’s clearly the objective, but there are many significant hurdles in the way:
- There are various causes for tinnitus; it’s difficult to know (for now) whether all or even most tinnitus is connected to inflammation of some kind.
- We still need to prove if any new approach is safe; these inflammation blocking medications could have unsafe side effects that could take some time to identify.
- These experiments were first performed on mice. This strategy isn’t approved yet for humans and it may be quite some time before it is.
So, a pill for tinnitus might be a long way off. But at least it’s now feasible. If you have tinnitus now, that signifies a tremendous increase in hope. And, of course, this approach in treating tinnitus is not the only one currently being researched. That cure gets closer and closer with every bit of practical knowledge and every new finding.
What Can You do Today?
You might have hope for an eventual tinnitus pill but that won’t offer you any comfort for your persistent buzzing or ringing now. Current treatments may not “cure” your tinnitus but they do give real results.
Some methods include noise-cancellation devices or cognitive therapies created to help you brush aside the sounds linked to your tinnitus. You don’t have to wait for a cure to get relief, you can find help dealing with your tinnitus right now. Spending less time worrying about the ringing or buzzing in your ears and more time doing what you enjoy 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 now.