Learning to cope with tinnitus is often how you manage it. You keep the television on to help you tune the constant ringing out. You avoid going dancing because the loudness of the bar causes your tinnitus to get worse for days after. You check in with specialists regularly to try out new treatments and new strategies. Eventually, your tinnitus just becomes something you fold into your daily way of life.
For the most part, that’s because there’s no cure for tinnitus. But that might be changing. New research published in PLOS Biology seems to provide promise that we might be getting closer to a permanent and effective cure for tinnitus.
You’re dealing with tinnitus if you hear a buzzing or ringing (or occasionally other noises) with no apparent cause. A condition that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, tinnitus is incredibly common.
It’s also a symptom, broadly speaking, and not a cause in and of itself. Simply put, tinnitus is caused by something else – tinnitus symptoms are the result of some root concern. One of the reasons why a “cure” for tinnitus is evasive is that these root causes can be difficult to pin down. There are many possible reasons for tinnitus symptoms.
It is true, most people connect tinnitus to loss of hearing of some kind, but even that link is unclear. There’s a correlation, sure, but not all people who suffer from tinnitus also have loss of hearing (and vice versa).
A New Culprit: Inflammation
The new research published in PLOS Biology detailed 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 hearing loss were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And a new culprit for tinnitus was revealed by her and her team: inflammation.
According to the scans and tests carried out on these mice, inflammation was seen around the parts of the brain responsible for hearing. These tests indicate that noise-induced hearing loss is producing some unidentified injury because inflammation is the body’s response to damage.
But this finding of inflammation also leads to the opportunity for a new form of treatment. Because we understand (generally speaking) how to handle inflammation. The tinnitus symptoms disappear 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?
One day there will probably be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–rather than investing in these various coping mechanisms, you can just pop a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus at bay.
That’s certainly the goal, but there are different huge obstacles in the way:
- There are a number of causes for tinnitus; it’s really difficult to know (for now) whether all or even most tinnitus is related to inflammation of some type.
- Any new approach needs to be confirmed to be safe; these inflammation blocking medications could have harmful side effects that could take some time to identify.
- First, these experiments were done on mice. This method is not yet approved for people and it could be some time before that happens.
So, a pill to treat tinnitus may be pretty far off. But at least now it’s achievable. If you have tinnitus today, that represents a substantial increase in hope. And other approaches are also being studied. Every new discovery, every new bit of knowledge, brings that cure for tinnitus just a little bit nearer.
What Can You do Today?
If you have a prolonged ringing or buzzing in your ears today, the promise of a far off pill might provide you with hope – but probably not relief. There are modern treatments for tinnitus that can deliver real results, even if they don’t really “cure” the root issue.
Some techniques include noise-cancellation units or cognitive therapies manufactured to help you dismiss the noises related to your tinnitus. You don’t have to wait for a cure to get relief, you can get help dealing with your tinnitus now. Spending less time worrying about the ringing or buzzing in your ears and more time doing what you enjoy is the reason why you need to let us help you find a therapy that works for you. Schedule your appointment today.