When you suffer from tinnitus, you learn to live with it. To help tune it out you leave the television on. And loud music at bars is making your tinnitus worse so you avoid going dancing. You check in with experts regularly to try out new treatments and new strategies. You just work tinnitus into your daily life after a while.
Mostly, that’s because there’s no cure for tinnitus. But that could be changing. New research published in PLOS Biology shows that an reliable and permanent cure for tinnitus may be coming soon.
You’re suffering from tinnitus if you hear a buzzing or ringing (or sometimes other sounds) with no apparent cause. A problem that impacts over 50 million people in the United States alone, tinnitus is incredibly common.
And it isn’t a cause itself but an indication of some other problem. Put simply, something causes tinnitus – there’s a root problem that creates tinnitus symptoms. These underlying causes can be difficult to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is challenging. Tinnitus symptoms can appear due to numerous reasons.
It is true, most people connect tinnitus to loss of hearing of some type, but even that relationship is uncertain. There’s a relationship, certainly, but not all people who suffer from tinnitus also have loss of hearing (and vice versa).
Inflammation: a New Culprit
The new research published in PLOS Biology detailed a study performed by Dr. Shaowen Bao, an associate professor of physiology at the Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon. Mice that had tinnitus brought about by noise induced hearing loss were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And what she and her team observed suggests a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
Inflammation was found in the brain areas responsible for hearing when scans were done to these mice. These Scans suggest that noise-induced hearing loss is contributing to some unknown damage because inflammation is the body’s reaction to damage.
But this discovery of inflammation also brings about the possibility of a new form of therapy. Because dealing with 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?
If you take a long enough viewpoint, you can probably look at this research and see how, one day, there could definitely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine if keeping your tinnitus under control was a routine matter of taking your morning medicine and you could escape from all of the coping mechanisms you need to do now.
That’s definitely the goal, but there are several big obstacles in the way:
- Not everybody’s tinnitus will be caused the same way; it’s difficult to understand (at this point) whether all or even most tinnitus is associated with inflammation of some type.
- We still need to establish whether any new strategy is safe; it could take some time to identify specific side effects, concerns, or problems related to these particular medications that block inflammation.
- To begin with, these experiments were performed on mice. And there’s a long way to go before this particular method is safe and authorized for use on people.
So, a pill for tinnitus might be pretty far off. But it isn’t impossible. If you have tinnitus today, that means a tremendous increase in hope. And other techniques are also being studied. Every new finding, every new bit of knowledge, brings that cure for tinnitus just a little bit closer.
Ca Anything be Done Now?
You might have hope for an eventual tinnitus pill but that isn’t going to give you any relief for your chronic buzzing or ringing right now. There are current therapies for tinnitus that can produce real results, even if they don’t really “cure” the root issue.
Some strategies include noise-cancellation devices or cognitive therapies manufactured to help you dismiss the sounds connected to your tinnitus. You don’t need to wait for a cure to get relief, you can get help dealing with your tinnitus now. Finding a treatment that works can help you spend more time doing what you enjoy, and less time thinking about that buzzing or ringing in your ears. Contact us for a consultation right away.