When you suffer from tinnitus, you learn to deal with it. To help tune it out you keep 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 therapies and techniques with your specialist. Eventually, your tinnitus just becomes something you fold into your everyday life.
Tinnitus doesn’t have a cure so you feel powerless. But that may be changing. New research published in PLOS Biology seems to offer promise that we may be getting closer to a permanent and effective cure for tinnitus.
You’re experiencing tinnitus if you hear a buzzing or ringing (or occasionally other noises) with no objective cause. A condition that impacts over 50 million people in the United States alone, tinnitus is very common.
It’s also a symptom, generally speaking, and not a cause unto itself. Simply put, tinnitus is triggered by something else – tinnitus symptoms are the result of some root concern. One reason why a “cure” for tinnitus is challenging is that these root causes can be hard to narrow down. Tinnitus symptoms can occur due to a number of reasons.
Even the relationship between tinnitus and hearing loss is unclear even though most people connect the two. There is some link but there are some people who have tinnitus and don’t have any hearing loss.
A New Culprit: Inflammation
Dr. Shaowen Bao, who is associate professor of physiology at Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon has recently released research. Dr. Bao performed experiments on mice who had tinnitus triggered by noise-induced loss of hearing. And what she and her team observed implies a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
According to the scans and tests carried out on these mice, inflammation was seen in the parts of the brain responsible for listening. As inflammation is the body’s reaction to damage, this finding does indicate that noise-induced loss of hearing may be causing some damage we don’t fully understand yet.
But a new form of treatment is also made available by these findings. Because dealing with inflammation is something we know how to do (generally). The tinnitus symptoms went away when the mice were treated for inflammation. Or, at least, those symptoms were no longer observable.
So is There a Pill to Treat Tinnitus?
One day there will most likely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–rather than investing in these various coping elements, you can just take a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus under control.
There are some hurdles but that is certainly the goal:
- All new approaches need to be proven safe; it could take a while to determine precise side effects, complications, or problems related to these specific medications that block inflammation.
- Not everyone’s tinnitus will happen the same way; it’s difficult to know (for now) whether all or even most tinnitus is related to inflammation of some type.
- To start with, these experiments were conducted on mice. And it will be a while before this particular method is safe and approved for humans.
So, a pill for tinnitus may be a long way off. But it isn’t impossible. If you suffer from tinnitus now, that signifies a substantial increase in hope. And, of course, this strategy in managing tinnitus is not the only one presently being studied. That cure gets closer with every bit of practical knowledge and every new finding.
Ca Anything be Done Now?
If you have a chronic ringing or buzzing in your ears today, the potential of a far off pill could provide you with hope – but not necessarily relief. There are modern treatments for tinnitus that can deliver real results, even if they don’t really “cure” the underlying problem.
Some strategies include noise-cancellation units or cognitive therapies created to help you brush off the noises connected to your tinnitus. A cure might be a number of years away, but that doesn’t mean you should cope with tinnitus by yourself or unaided. 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. Make your appointment today.