When you suffer from tinnitus, you learn to deal with it. To help tune it out you keep the television on. You skip going dancing because the loudness of the bar causes your tinnitus to get worse for days after. You check in with specialists constantly to try out new solutions and new techniques. Eventually, your tinnitus simply becomes something you work into your daily way of life.
Tinnitus doesn’t have a cure so you feel powerless. Changes could be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology indicates that an reliable and permanent cure for tinnitus could be coming soon.
Tinnitus usually manifests as a ringing or buzzing in the ear (although, tinnitus might be present as other sounds also) that do not have an objective cause. A condition that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s incredibly common for people to suffer from tinnitus.
It’s also a symptom, generally speaking, and not a cause unto itself. In other words, tinnitus is caused by something else – tinnitus symptoms are the outcome of some root concern. These underlying causes can be difficult to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is challenging. There are many possible reasons for tinnitus symptoms.
True, the majority of people attribute tinnitus to hearing loss of some type, but even that relationship is unclear. There’s a correlation, certainly, but not all people who have tinnitus also have loss of hearing (and vice versa).
Inflammation: a New Culprit
Dr. Shaowen Bao, who is associate professor of physiology at Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon has recently published research. Mice that had tinnitus caused by noise induced loss of hearing were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And a new culprit for tinnitus was revealed by her and her team: inflammation.
Inflammation was seen around the brain centers responsible for hearing when scans were done to these mice. As inflammation is the body’s reaction to injury, this finding does suggest that noise-induced hearing loss might be creating some damage we don’t completely understand yet.
But this finding of inflammation also brings about the possibility of a new kind of therapy. Because we know (generally speaking) how to deal with inflammation. 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 For Tinnitus?
If you take a patient enough view, you can definitely look at this study and see how, one day, there could definitely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine if keeping your tinnitus under control was a simple matter of taking your morning medication and you could avoid all of the coping mechanisms you need to do now.
That’s certainly the goal, but there are many huge obstacles in the way:
- Any new approach needs to be confirmed to be safe; it might take a while to identify specific side effects, concerns, or problems related to these particular inflammation-blocking medications.
- There are various causes for tinnitus; Which particular types of tinnitus are connected to inflammation is still unclear.
- These experiments were first performed on mice. This method is not yet approved for humans and it may be a while before that happens.
So it could be pretty far off before we get a pill to treat tinnitus. But it’s no longer impossible. That should give anybody who has tinnitus significant hope. And other approaches are also being researched. Every new finding, every new bit of knowledge, brings that cure for tinnitus just a little bit closer.
Ca Anything be Done Now?
If you have a continual buzzing or ringing in your ears today, the promise of a far off pill could provide you with hope – but not necessarily relief. Current treatments might not “cure” your tinnitus but they do provide real results.
Some strategies include noise-cancellation units or cognitive therapies designed to help you brush off the sounds connected to your tinnitus. A cure could be several years off, but that doesn’t mean you should cope with tinnitus on your own or unaided. Finding a therapy that works can help you spend more time doing what you enjoy, and less time thinking about that buzzing or ringing in your ears. Schedule your appointment today.