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 loud music at the bar makes your tinnitus worse for days after. You check in with experts regularly to try out new therapies and new techniques. Eventually, your tinnitus simply becomes something you fold into your everyday way of life.
Tinnitus doesn’t have a cure so you feel helpless. Changes could be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology seems to give hope that we could be getting closer to a permanent and effective cure for tinnitus.
Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus normally is experienced 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, it’s very common for people to have tinnitus.
And it isn’t a cause itself but a symptom of some other problem. In other words, tinnitus is caused by something else – there’s a root problem that creates tinnitus symptoms. These root causes can be difficult to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is evasive. Tinnitus symptoms can manifest due to numerous reasons.
True, the majority of people connect tinnitus to loss of hearing of some kind, but even that link is not clear. There’s a connection, sure, but not all people who have tinnitus also have loss of hearing (and vice versa).
A New Culprit: Inflammation
The new study published in PLOS Biology outlined a study performed by Dr. Shaowen Bao, an associate professor of physiology at the Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon. Mice that had tinnitus triggered by noise induced loss of hearing were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And a new culprit for tinnitus was uncovered by her and her team: inflammation.
Inflammation was seen around the brain areas used for hearing when scans were done to these mice. These Scans reveal that noise-induced hearing loss is contributing to some unidentified damage because inflammation is the body’s response to damage.
But this finding of inflammation also brings about the opportunity for a new form of treatment. Because we understand (generally speaking) how to deal with inflammation. The tinnitus symptoms went away when the mice were treated for inflammation. Or, at a minimum, those symptoms weren’t observable any longer
So is There a Pill For Tinnitus?
If you take a long enough view, you can definitely look at this research and see how, one day, there could easily be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–rather than counting on these various coping mechanisms, you can just pop a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus under control.
There are a few hurdles but that is certainly the goal:
- Not everybody’s tinnitus will be caused the same way; it’s really difficult to understand (at this point) whether all or even most tinnitus is associated with inflammation of some kind.
- We still need to establish whether any new method is safe; these inflammation blocking medications may have unsafe side effects that still need to be identified.
- These experiments were first performed on mice. And it will be a while before this particular approach is safe and approved for people.
So it could be a long way off before we have a pill for tinnitus. But it isn’t impossible. That should give anyone who has tinnitus considerable hope. And, obviously, this strategy in managing tinnitus is not the only one currently 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 now, the potential of a far off pill could provide you with hope – but probably not relief. Current treatments may not “cure” your tinnitus but they do give real results.
Being able to tune out or ignore tinnitus sounds, sometimes utilizing noise canceling headphones or cognitive techniques is what modern techniques are trying to do. A cure might be several years off, but that doesn’t mean you have to cope with tinnitus on your own or unassisted. Spending less time being stressed about the buzzing or ringing in your ears and more time doing what you enjoy is the reason why you should let us help you discover a therapy that works for you. Set up your appointment today.