Learning to live with tinnitus is often how you manage it. To help tune it out you keep the television on. You avoid going dancing because the loud music at the bar causes your tinnitus to get worse for days after. You consult with specialists regularly to try out new solutions and new strategies. Eventually, your tinnitus simply becomes something you fold into your daily life.
Mainly, that’s because there’s no cure for tinnitus. Changes may be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology seems to provide promise that we may 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 problem that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, tinnitus is incredibly common.
It’s also a symptom, in general, and not a cause unto itself. In other words, tinnitus is triggered by something else – there’s an underlying issue that creates tinnitus symptoms. These underlying causes can be hard to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is evasive. There are various possible reasons for tinnitus symptoms.
True, most people connect tinnitus to hearing loss of some type, but even that connection is unclear. There is some connection but some people have tinnitus and don’t have any loss of hearing.
A New Culprit: Inflammation
The new research published in PLOS Biology outlined a study lead 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 triggered by noise-induced hearing loss. And what she and her team discovered suggests a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
Inflammation was found in the brain centers responsible for hearing when scans were performed on these mice. These tests suggest that noise-induced hearing loss is causing some unknown damage because inflammation is the body’s reaction to damage.
But a new kind of treatment is also opened up by these findings. Because we understand (generally speaking) how to handle inflammation. The tinnitus symptoms disappear when the mice were treated for inflammation. Or, at a minimum, those symptoms weren’t observable any longer
Does This Mean There’s a Pill to Treat Tinnitus?
If you take a long enough view, you can probably look at this research and see how, one day, there could easily be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–instead of counting on these various coping mechanisms, you can just take a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus at bay.
There are a few obstacles but that is certainly the goal:
- First off, these experiments were conducted on mice. And there’s a long way to go before this particular approach is safe and authorized for use on people.
- Not everybody’s tinnitus will be caused the same way; Whether any specific forms of tinnitus are associated with inflammation is still not certain.
- We still have to prove if any new approach is safe; these inflammation blocking medications might have unsafe side effects that still need to be identified.
So it could be pretty far off before we get a pill to treat tinnitus. But it’s no longer impossible. If you suffer from tinnitus today, that represents a tremendous boost in hope. And, clearly, this strategy in treating tinnitus is not the only one currently being studied. Every new discovery, every new bit of knowledge, brings that cure for tinnitus just a bit closer.
Ca Anything be Done Now?
You could have hope for an eventual tinnitus pill but that isn’t going to give you any relief for your prolonged buzzing or ringing now. There are current treatments for tinnitus that can deliver real results, even if they don’t necessarily “cure” the root issue.
Being able to tune out or ignore tinnitus sounds, sometimes employing noise canceling headphones or cognitive therapies is what modern techniques are trying to do. You don’t need to wait for a cure to find relief, you can get help coping with your tinnitus right now. Discovering 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. Set up your appointment today.