When you suffer from tinnitus, you learn to cope with it. You keep the television on to help you tune the constant ringing out. You avoid going dancing because the loudness of the bar makes your tinnitus worse for days after. You check in with specialists regularly to try out new therapies and new strategies. You simply work tinnitus into your everyday life after a while.
Tinnitus has no cure so you feel helpless. Changes may be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology seems to give promise that we may be getting closer to a permanent and reliable cure for tinnitus.
You’re suffering from tinnitus if you hear a ringing or buzzing (or sometimes other noises) with no apparent cause. A problem that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s incredibly common for people to have tinnitus.
And it’s not a cause itself but an indication of something else. Simply put, tinnitus is triggered by something else – there’s an underlying issue that brings about tinnitus symptoms. These root causes can be difficult to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is evasive. There are many possible reasons for tinnitus symptoms.
True, most people connect tinnitus to loss of hearing of some kind, but even that connection is unclear. There’s a relationship, sure, but not all people who have tinnitus also have loss of hearing (and vice versa).
A New Culprit: Inflammation
Dr. Shaowen Bao, who is associate professor of physiology at Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon has recently released research. Mice that had tinnitus brought about by noise induced hearing loss were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And a new culprit for tinnitus was discovered by her and her team: inflammation.
Inflammation was found in the brain areas responsible 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 hearing loss may be causing some harm we don’t fully understand yet.
But this finding of inflammation also brings about the possibility of a new type of therapy. Because handling inflammation is something we understand how to do (in general). 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?
One day there will likely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–instead of investing in these various coping mechanisms, you can just pop a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus under control.
That’s certainly the goal, but there are various significant hurdles in the way:
- There are a number of causes for tinnitus; Which particular forms of tinnitus are connected to inflammation is still not certain.
- These experiments were performed first on mice. And it will be a while before this particular strategy is safe and approved for humans.
- All new approaches need to be proven safe; it could take a while to determine specific side effects, complications, or problems related to these specific inflammation-blocking medications.
So it could be pretty far off before we get a pill for tinnitus. But it’s no longer impossible. If you suffer from tinnitus now, that means a tremendous boost in hope. And other solutions are also being studied. That cure gets closer and closer with every bit of knowledge and every new discovery.
Ca Anything be Done Now?
You might have hope for an eventual tinnitus pill but that won’t give you any relief for your chronic buzzing or ringing right now. There are modern therapies for tinnitus that can give real results, even if they don’t really “cure” the root issue.
Being able to tune out or ignore tinnitus sounds, oftentimes employing noise canceling headphones or cognitive therapies is what modern methods are trying to do. You don’t have to wait for a cure to get relief, you can get help coping with your tinnitus 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. Get in touch with us for a consultation right away.