Figuring out how to cope with tinnitus is often how you manage it. To help tune it out you leave the television on. And loud music at bars is making your tinnitus worse so you stay away from going dancing. You consult with experts constantly to try out new solutions and new techniques. You simply work tinnitus into your everyday life eventually.
Mainly, that’s because there’s no cure for tinnitus. Changes might be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology shows that an reliable and permanent cure for tinnitus might be on the horizon.
Causes of Tinnitus
Tinnitus normally is experienced as a ringing or buzzing in the ear (though, tinnitus may be present as other sounds too) that do not have an objective cause. A condition that impacts over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s incredibly 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 an underlying issue that creates tinnitus symptoms. These root causes can be hard to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is challenging. There are various possible causes for tinnitus symptoms.
Even the connection between tinnitus and loss of hearing is not clear although the majority of people associate the two. There’s a connection, sure, but not all people who have tinnitus also have hearing loss (and vice versa).
Inflammation: a New Culprit
The new study 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. Dr. Bao performed experiments on mice who had tinnitus triggered by noise-induced loss of hearing. And what she and her team discovered suggests a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
Based on the tests and scans done on these mice, inflammation was found in the parts of the brain responsible for listening. These tests indicate that noise-induced hearing loss is contributing to some unknown injury because inflammation is the body’s reaction to damage.
But a new type of treatment is also opened up by these findings. Because we know (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 For Tinnitus?
One day there will most likely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine if keeping your tinnitus at bay was a routine matter of taking your morning medicine and you could avoid all of the coping mechanisms you need to do now.
There are some hurdles but that is certainly the goal:
- These experiments were first performed on mice. This method is not approved yet for people and it may be quite some time before it is.
- There are many causes for tinnitus; it’s hard to understand (at this point) whether all or even most tinnitus is connected to inflammation of some type.
- We still need to prove if any new strategy is safe; these inflammation blocking medications could have dangerous side effects that could take some time to identify.
So, a pill for tinnitus might be pretty far off. But it isn’t impossible. If you suffer from tinnitus today, that means a substantial increase in hope. And, obviously, this strategy in treating tinnitus is not the only one presently being studied. Every new finding, every new bit of understanding, brings that cure for tinnitus a little bit closer.
Ca Anything be Done Now?
You may 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 modern treatments for tinnitus that can produce real results, even if they don’t really “cure” the underlying issue.
Some strategies include noise-cancellation devices or cognitive therapies manufactured to help you ignore the sounds linked to your tinnitus. A cure might be a number of years away, but that doesn’t mean you have to deal with tinnitus by yourself or unassisted. Discovering a treatment that works can help you spend more time doing what you enjoy, and less time thinking about that buzzing or ringing in your ears. Get in touch with us for a consultation today.