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. You check in with specialists constantly to try out new treatments and new strategies. Eventually, your tinnitus simply becomes something you work into your daily life.
Mostly, that’s because there’s no cure for tinnitus. But that might be changing. New research published in PLOS Biology indicates that an effective and permanent cure for tinnitus could be coming.
Causes of Tinnitus
You’re suffering from tinnitus if you hear a ringing or buzzing (or at times other sounds) with no apparent cause. A problem that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s very common for people to have tinnitus.
And it isn’t a cause itself but a symptom of some other problem. In other words, tinnitus is caused by something else – there’s an underlying issue that creates tinnitus symptoms. One of the reasons why a “cure” for tinnitus is evasive is that these underlying causes can be challenging to pin down. There are lots of possible reasons for tinnitus symptoms.
Even the association between tinnitus and hearing loss is not clear though most people associate the two. There’s a correlation, certainly, but not all people who suffer from 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 released a study. Dr. Bao did experiments on mice who had tinnitus induced by noise-induced loss of hearing. And what she and her team discovered implies a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
Inflammation was seen in the brain areas used for hearing when scans were performed on these mice. As inflammation is the body’s reaction to damage, this finding does suggest that noise-induced loss of hearing could be creating some damage we don’t thoroughly understand yet.
But a new kind of approach is also made possible by these discoveries. Because we know (generally speaking) how to handle inflammation. When the mice were given drugs that impeded the detected inflammation reaction, the symptoms of tinnitus faded away. Or, at least, those symptoms weren’t observable any longer
So is There a Pill For Tinnitus?
If you take a patient enough viewpoint, you can probably look at this research and see how, one day, there could definitely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–rather than investing in these various coping mechanisms, you can just take a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus under control.
There are a couple of obstacles but that is certainly the goal:
- First off, these experiments were done on mice. This approach isn’t approved yet for people and it might be a while before that happens.
- Not everybody’s tinnitus will be caused the same way; Which particular types of tinnitus are related to inflammation is still not certain.
- All new approaches need to be confirmed to be safe; it could take a while to determine specific side effects, concerns, or issues related to these particular inflammation-blocking medications.
So, a pill for tinnitus might be pretty far off. But it’s no longer impossible. That should bring anybody who has tinnitus considerable hope. And, clearly, this approach in managing tinnitus is not the only one presently being studied. That cure gets closer and closer with every bit of practical knowledge and every new discovery.
What Can You do Today?
If you have a continual buzzing or ringing in your ears now, the promise of a far off pill could give you hope – but probably not relief. There are modern treatments for tinnitus that can deliver real results, even if they don’t really “cure” the underlying problem.
Being able to tune out or ignore tinnitus sounds, oftentimes employing noise canceling headphones or cognitive therapies is what modern techniques are aiming to do. You don’t have to wait for a cure to find relief, you can get help dealing with your tinnitus now. Spending less time worrying about the buzzing or ringing in your ears and more time doing what you love is the reason why you should let us help you discover a therapy that works for you. Get in touch with us for a consultation right away.