Learning 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 making your tinnitus worse so you avoid going dancing. You consult with experts constantly to try out new solutions and new techniques. You simply fold tinnitus into your daily life after a while.
Tinnitus doesn’t have a cure so you feel powerless. Changes might be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology suggests that an reliable and permanent cure for tinnitus might be coming soon.
You’re suffering from tinnitus if you hear a ringing or buzzing (or occasionally other sounds) with no objective cause. A condition that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, tinnitus is remarkably common.
It’s also a symptom, in general, and not a cause unto itself. In other words, tinnitus is triggered by something else – tinnitus symptoms are the outcome of some root problem. These underlying causes can be difficult to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is elusive. Tinnitus symptoms can manifest due to numerous reasons.
Even the connection between tinnitus and loss of hearing is uncertain though the majority of people link the two. There’s a relationship, sure, but not all people who have tinnitus also have hearing loss (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 brought about 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 found around the brain areas used for hearing when scans were done to these mice. As inflammation is the body’s reaction to injury, this finding does indicate that noise-induced hearing loss could be causing some harm we don’t thoroughly understand yet.
But a new type of approach is also opened up by these results. Because dealing with inflammation is something we understand how to do (in general). When the mice were given drugs that impeded the detected inflammation response, the symptoms of tinnitus disappeared. Or at the very least there were no longer observable symptoms of tinnitus.
Does This Mean There’s 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 have to do now.
That’s clearly the goal, but there are several significant hurdles in the way:
- To start with, these experiments were performed on mice. This approach isn’t approved yet for humans and it might be some time before it is.
- There are many causes for tinnitus; Which particular types of tinnitus are related to inflammation is still unclear.
- Any new approach needs to be confirmed to be safe; it could take some time to determine precise side effects, complications, or problems related to these particular medications that block inflammation.
So it could be a long way off before we get a pill for tinnitus. But it’s no longer impossible. That should offer anybody who has tinnitus considerable hope. And other techniques are also being researched. That cure gets closer with every bit of practical knowledge and every new discovery.
Ca Anything be Done Now?
You may have hope for an eventual tinnitus pill but that won’t offer you any relief for your persistent buzzing or ringing right now. Current treatments may not “cure” your tinnitus but they do provide real results.
Being able to tune out or ignore tinnitus sounds, sometimes utilizing noise canceling headphones or cognitive therapies is what modern strategies are striving to do. You don’t need to wait for a cure to get relief, you can get help dealing 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. Make your appointment today.