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 stay away from going dancing. You consult with experts frequently to try out new treatments and new strategies. Eventually, your tinnitus simply becomes something you work into your everyday life.
Mostly, that’s because there’s no cure for tinnitus. Changes could be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology indicates that an effective and permanent cure for tinnitus might be on the horizon.
Tinnitus usually manifests as a ringing or buzzing in the ear (though, tinnitus might be present as other sounds also) that don’t have an objective cause. A problem that impacts over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s remarkably common for people to have tinnitus.
It’s also a symptom, in general, and not a cause in and of itself. In other words, tinnitus is caused by something else – tinnitus symptoms are the result of some underlying concern. One reason why a “cure” for tinnitus is evasive is that these root causes can be challenging to narrow down. There are numerous possible causes for tinnitus symptoms.
It is true, the majority of people connect tinnitus to hearing loss of some type, but even that link is uncertain. There is some connection but there are some people who have tinnitus and don’t have any loss of hearing.
A New Culprit: Inflammation
The new study published in PLOS Biology detailed a study performed 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 triggered by noise-induced loss of hearing. And a new culprit for tinnitus was revealed by her and her team: inflammation.
According to the tests and scans carried out on these mice, inflammation was found around the areas of the brain responsible for listening. As inflammation is the body’s response to injury, this finding does indicate that noise-induced loss of hearing might be causing some harm we don’t completely understand yet.
But this finding of inflammation also brings about the opportunity for a new type of treatment. Because we understand (generally speaking) how to deal with inflammation. When the mice were given medication that impeded the observed inflammation response, the symptoms of tinnitus vanished. Or at the very least there were no longer observable symptoms of tinnitus.
So is There a Pill For Tinnitus?
If you take a patient enough view, you can probably look at this research and see how, one day, there may definitely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–instead of investing in these various coping mechanisms, you can just take a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus under control.
That’s clearly the objective, but there are several huge obstacles in the way:
- First off, these experiments were done on mice. This approach is not approved yet for people and it might be some time before that happens.
- We still have to prove if any new approach is safe; these inflammation blocking medications could have unsafe side effects that still need to be identified.
- There are several causes for tinnitus; it’s difficult to know (at this point) whether all or even most tinnitus is associated with inflammation of some type.
So, a pill to treat tinnitus could be pretty far off. But it isn’t impossible. That should bring anyone who has tinnitus substantial hope. And, obviously, this approach in dealing with tinnitus is not the only one currently being studied. That cure gets closer and closer with every bit of practical knowledge and every new discovery.
What Can You do Today?
You could have hope for an eventual tinnitus pill but that won’t give you any relief for your prolonged buzzing or ringing now. Modern treatments may not “cure” your tinnitus but they do provide real results.
Some techniques include noise-cancellation devices or cognitive therapies manufactured to help you brush off the sounds connected to your tinnitus. You don’t need to wait for a cure to get relief, you can find help coping with your tinnitus now. Spending less time worrying about the ringing or buzzing in your ears and more time doing what you love is the reason why you need to let us help you discover a treatment that works for you. Contact us for a consultation now.