Learning to cope with tinnitus is often how you manage it. To help tune it out you leave the television on. And loud music at bars is making your tinnitus worse so you stay away from going dancing. You’re regularly trying new solutions and strategies with your specialist. You just fold tinnitus into your daily life eventually.
Mostly, that’s because there’s no cure for tinnitus. But that might be changing. New research published in PLOS Biology indicates that an effective and permanent cure for tinnitus may be coming soon.
Tinnitus commonly is experienced as a buzzing or ringing in the ear (although, tinnitus might be experienced as other sounds also) that don’t have a concrete cause. A problem that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s incredibly common for people to suffer from tinnitus.
And it’s not a cause itself but a symptom of something else. Put simply, something causes tinnitus – there’s a root problem that creates tinnitus symptoms. One reason why a “cure” for tinnitus is challenging is that these root causes can be hard to narrow down. Tinnitus symptoms can manifest due to quite a few reasons.
True, most people attribute tinnitus to hearing loss of some type, but even that link is not clear. There is some link but some people have tinnitus and don’t have any hearing loss.
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 caused by noise-induced hearing loss. And what she and her team discovered implies a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
Based on the scans and tests carried out on these mice, inflammation was found in the areas of the brain in control of hearing. These Scans indicate that noise-induced hearing loss is contributing to some unknown damage because inflammation is the body’s reaction to damage.
But a new kind of treatment is also made available by these findings. Because we know (generally speaking) how to handle inflammation. When the mice were given medication that impeded the observed inflammation response, the symptoms of tinnitus vanished. Or at the very least there were no longer observable symptoms of tinnitus.
Does This Mean There’s a Pill for Tinnitus?
One day there will likely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–instead of counting on these various coping elements, you can just take a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus under control.
That’s clearly the goal, but there are several big obstacles in the way:
- Not everybody’s tinnitus will be caused the same way; Which particular types of tinnitus are associated with inflammation is still unclear.
- Any new approach needs to be proven safe; these inflammation blocking medications could have unsafe side effects that could take some time to identify.
- These experiments were first performed on mice. And there’s a long way to go before this particular method is safe and authorized for use on humans.
So, a pill for tinnitus could be a long way off. But at least it’s now feasible. That should offer anyone who has tinnitus substantial hope. And other solutions are also being researched. Every new discovery, every new bit of knowledge, brings that cure for tinnitus just a little bit closer.
Ca Anything be Done Now?
If you have a prolonged buzzing or ringing in your ears today, the promise of a far off pill might provide you with hope – but not necessarily relief. Modern 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 therapies is what modern techniques are aiming to do. You don’t have to wait for a cure to get relief, you can get help coping with your tinnitus right now. 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 right away.