Learning to cope with tinnitus is often how you manage it. To help tune it out you keep the television on. You skip going dancing because the loud music at the bar causes your tinnitus to get worse for days. You consult with specialists frequently to try out new therapies and new techniques. You just work tinnitus into your daily life eventually.
Mostly, that’s because there’s no cure for tinnitus. 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 reliable cure for tinnitus.
Tinnitus normally manifests as a buzzing or ringing in the ear (although, tinnitus might be present as other noises also) that do not have a concrete cause. A condition that impacts over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s incredibly common for people to suffer from tinnitus.
It’s also a symptom, broadly speaking, and not a cause unto itself. Simply put, something causes tinnitus – there’s an underlying issue that creates tinnitus symptoms. These root causes can be difficult to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is challenging. There are many possible reasons for tinnitus symptoms.
It is true, the majority of people connect tinnitus to loss of hearing of some type, but even that connection is not clear. There is some link but there are some people who have tinnitus and don’t have any hearing loss.
Inflammation: a New Culprit
The new research published in PLOS Biology highlighted a study lead 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 what she and her team found out indicates a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
Inflammation was seen around the brain areas responsible for hearing when scans were performed on these mice. As inflammation is the body’s reaction to injury, this finding does indicate that noise-induced loss of hearing might be causing some harm we don’t thoroughly understand yet.
But this finding of inflammation also brings about the opportunity for a new kind of therapy. Because we know (generally speaking) how to handle inflammation. When the mice were given medication that inhibited the detected inflammation reaction, the symptoms of tinnitus faded away. Or, at least, those symptoms weren’t observable any longer
Does This Mean There’s a Pill to Treat Tinnitus?
If you take a patient enough viewpoint, you can definitely look at this study and see how, one day, there could easily 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.
That’s certainly the goal, but there are different significant obstacles in the way:
- To begin with, these experiments were done on mice. And it will be a while before this particular strategy is safe and authorized for use on humans.
- Not everybody’s tinnitus will happen the same way; Which particular forms of tinnitus are related to inflammation is still not certain.
- All new approaches need to be confirmed to be safe; these inflammation blocking medications might have harmful side effects that could take some time to identify.
So, a pill for tinnitus may be pretty far off. But at least it’s now possible. That should bring anyone who has tinnitus considerable hope. And, clearly, this approach in managing tinnitus is not the only one presently being researched. Every new discovery, every new bit of understanding, brings that cure for tinnitus just a little bit nearer.
What Can You do Today?
You could have hope for an eventual tinnitus pill but that isn’t going to offer you any relief for your prolonged buzzing or ringing now. Modern treatments might not “cure” your tinnitus but they do offer real results.
Being able to tune out or ignore tinnitus sounds, oftentimes using noise canceling headphones or cognitive techniques is what modern techniques are striving to do. A cure may be a number of years off, but that doesn’t mean you should deal with tinnitus alone 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 find a treatment that works for you. Get in touch with us for a consultation now.