When you suffer from tinnitus, you learn to cope with it. You leave the television on to help you tune out the constant ringing. You avoid going dancing because the loud music at the bar causes your tinnitus to get worse for days after. You consult with experts frequently to try new therapies and new techniques. Eventually, your tinnitus just becomes something you fold into your daily life.
For the most part, that’s because there’s no cure for tinnitus. Changes might be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology seems to provide hope that we could be getting closer to a permanent and reliable cure for tinnitus.
Tinnitus commonly manifests as a buzzing or ringing in the ear (though, tinnitus might be present as other sounds as well) that do not have a concrete cause. A condition that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s remarkably common for people to have tinnitus.
And it’s not a cause itself but an indication of some other problem. Simply put, something triggers tinnitus – tinnitus symptoms are the outcome of some root concern. One reason why a “cure” for tinnitus is evasive is that these underlying causes can be difficult to narrow down. Tinnitus symptoms can occur due to numerous reasons.
Even the association between tinnitus and loss of hearing is not clear though most people connect the two. There’s a link, 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 performed by Dr. Shaowen Bao, an associate professor of physiology at the Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon. Dr. Bao did experiments on mice who had tinnitus caused by noise-induced loss of hearing. And a new culprit for tinnitus was revealed by her and her team: inflammation.
Inflammation was found in the brain centers responsible for hearing when scans were performed on these mice. As inflammation is the body’s response to damage, this finding does indicate that noise-induced loss of hearing could be causing some harm we don’t thoroughly understand yet.
But this discovery of inflammation also leads to the possibility of a new form of treatment. Because we understand (generally speaking) how to handle inflammation. When the mice were given drugs that inhibited the detected inflammation reaction, the symptoms of tinnitus vanished. Or, at a minimum, those symptoms were no longer observable.
So is There a Pill For Tinnitus?
If you take a patient enough viewpoint, you can definitely look at this research and see how, one day, there may easily be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–rather than counting on these various coping mechanisms, you can just pop a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus under control.
There are a couple of hurdles but that is certainly the goal:
- These experiments were first performed on mice. This method is not yet approved for humans and it may be a while before that happens.
- We still need to prove if any new method is safe; it could take a while to determine specific side effects, concerns, or challenges related to these specific medications that block inflammation.
- There are several causes for tinnitus; Whether any specific types of tinnitus are connected to inflammation is still not certain.
So, a pill to treat tinnitus may be pretty far off. But at least now it’s achievable. That should bring anybody who has tinnitus significant hope. And other techniques are also being researched. That cure gets closer and closer with every bit of knowledge and every new finding.
What Can You do Today?
You might have hope for an eventual tinnitus pill but that won’t give you any comfort for your persistent buzzing or ringing now. Current treatments may not “cure” your tinnitus but they do offer real results.
Some techniques include noise-cancellation units or cognitive therapies manufactured to help you brush aside the sounds connected to your tinnitus. You don’t have to wait for a cure to find relief, you can find help dealing with your tinnitus right now. Spending less time being stressed about the ringing or buzzing in your ears and more time doing what you love is the reason why you should let us help you find a treatment that works for you. Contact us for a consultation now.