Figuring out how to cope with tinnitus is often how you manage 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 consult with experts regularly to try new therapies and new techniques. Eventually, your tinnitus just becomes something you fold into your everyday way of life.
For the most part, that’s because there’s no cure for tinnitus. But that could be changing. New research published in PLOS Biology shows that an reliable and permanent cure for tinnitus might be on the horizon.
You’re experiencing tinnitus if you hear a buzzing or ringing (or occasionally other noises) with no apparent cause. A problem that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, tinnitus is exceptionally common.
And it isn’t a cause itself but an indication of something else. In other words, tinnitus is caused by something else – tinnitus symptoms are the outcome of some root concern. These root causes can be hard to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is elusive. Tinnitus symptoms can appear due to quite a few reasons.
True, most people connect tinnitus to loss of hearing of some type, but even that connection is unclear. There is some relationship but there are some people who have tinnitus and don’t have any hearing loss.
A New Culprit: Inflammation
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 did experiments on mice who had tinnitus caused by noise-induced hearing loss. And what she and her team discovered suggests a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
Inflammation was found around the brain areas responsible for hearing when scans were performed on these mice. As inflammation is the body’s response to injury, this finding does suggest that noise-induced loss of hearing could be causing some harm we don’t fully understand yet.
But a new kind of treatment is also opened up by these findings. Because handling inflammation is something we know how to do (in general). When the mice were given medication that inhibited the observed inflammation response, the symptoms of tinnitus disappeared. Or, at least, those symptoms were no longer observable.
Does This Mean There’s a Pill to Treat Tinnitus?
One day there will likely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–instead of counting on these various coping elements, you can just take a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus at bay.
That’s definitely the objective, but there are several significant hurdles in the way:
- We still have to prove if any new method is safe; it might take some time to determine precise side effects, complications, or challenges related to these particular medications that block inflammation.
- There are various causes for tinnitus; Which particular types of tinnitus are connected to inflammation is still not certain.
- First off, these experiments were performed on mice. And it will be a while before this particular strategy is safe and approved for humans.
So it could be pretty far off before we get a pill to treat tinnitus. But it’s no longer impossible. That should offer anyone who has tinnitus considerable hope. And, obviously, this strategy in dealing with tinnitus is not the only one presently being researched. That cure gets closer and closer with every bit of knowledge and every new finding.
What Can You do Today?
You may have hope for an eventual tinnitus pill but that won’t offer you any comfort for your prolonged buzzing or ringing right now. Current treatments may not “cure” your tinnitus but they do offer real results.
Some strategies include noise-cancellation units or cognitive therapies manufactured to help you dismiss the sounds related to your tinnitus. You don’t need to wait for a cure to get relief, you can get help dealing with your tinnitus right now. Finding 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. Make your appointment right away.