Figuring out how to live with tinnitus is often how you manage it. To help tune it out you keep the television on. And loud music at bars is causing your hearing loss to get worse so you stay away from going dancing. You’re always trying new therapies and strategies with your hearing care expert. You just fold tinnitus into your everyday life after a while.
Tinnitus doesn’t have a cure so you feel helpless. But that could be changing. New research published in PLOS Biology shows that an reliable and permanent cure for tinnitus may be coming soon.
Tinnitus commonly is experienced as a buzzing or ringing in the ear (although, tinnitus may be experienced as other noises as well) that don’t have a concrete cause. A problem that impacts over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s remarkably common for people to have tinnitus.
It’s also a symptom, in general, and not a cause unto itself. Simply put, tinnitus is caused by something else – there’s a root problem that creates tinnitus symptoms. These underlying causes can be tough to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is challenging. Tinnitus symptoms can manifest due to a number of reasons.
Even the interaction between tinnitus and loss of hearing is uncertain though most people connect the two. There is some connection but there are some people who have tinnitus and don’t have any loss of hearing.
Inflammation: a New Culprit
The new study 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. Dr. Bao performed experiments on mice who had tinnitus induced by noise-induced hearing loss. And a new culprit for tinnitus was discovered by her and her team: inflammation.
According to the tests and scans done on these mice, inflammation was found across the areas of the brain responsible for listening. These tests reveal that noise-induced hearing loss is producing some unidentified damage because inflammation is the body’s response to damage.
But a new form of approach is also made available by these discoveries. Because handling inflammation is something we understand how to do (generally). 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.
Does This Mean There’s a Pill for Tinnitus?
If you take a patient enough viewpoint, you can probably look at this research and see how, one day, there may definitely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–rather than investing in these various coping mechanisms, you can just take a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus under control.
That’s certainly the objective, but there are numerous huge obstacles in the way:
- Any new approach needs to be proven safe; it might take a while to identify specific side effects, complications, or problems related to these specific medications that block inflammation.
- First off, these experiments were performed on mice. And there’s a long way to go before this particular strategy is safe and authorized for use on humans.
- There are several causes for tinnitus; it’s hard to understand (at this point) whether all or even most tinnitus is related to inflammation of some kind.
So, a pill to treat tinnitus could be pretty far off. But at least now it’s possible. That should give anyone who has tinnitus significant hope. And, clearly, this approach in treating tinnitus is not the only one currently being researched. Every new finding, every new bit of knowledge, brings that cure for tinnitus just a bit closer.
What Can You do Today?
You may have hope for an eventual tinnitus pill but that isn’t going to offer you any relief for your persistent buzzing or ringing now. There are modern treatments for tinnitus that can deliver real results, even if they don’t necessarily “cure” the underlying problem.
Being able to tune out or ignore tinnitus noises, sometimes employing noise canceling headphones or cognitive techniques is what modern methods are trying to do. You don’t need to wait for a cure to get relief, you can get help coping with your tinnitus now. Discovering a treatment 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.