Hearing Health Blog

Man suffering from ringing in the ears reads about new research into the causes of tinnitus.

Learning to cope with tinnitus is often how you manage it. You keep the television on to help you tune out the constant ringing. And loud music at bars is making your tinnitus worse so you avoid going dancing. You consult with specialists constantly to try new solutions and new techniques. Eventually, your tinnitus just becomes something you work into your everyday way of life.

Mostly, that’s because there isn’t any cure for tinnitus. Changes might be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology indicates that an reliable and permanent cure for tinnitus might be coming soon.

Causes of Tinnitus

You’re dealing with tinnitus if you hear a buzzing or ringing (or occasionally other sounds) with no objective cause. A problem that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, tinnitus is exceptionally common.

And it’s not a cause itself but an indication of some other problem. In other words, something triggers tinnitus – there’s an underlying issue that brings about tinnitus symptoms. One of the reasons why a “cure” for tinnitus is challenging is that these underlying causes can be hard to pin down. Tinnitus symptoms can manifest due to quite a few reasons.

Even the association between tinnitus and hearing loss is uncertain although the majority of people link the two. There is some link but there are some people who have tinnitus and don’t have any hearing loss.

A New Culprit: Inflammation

Dr. Shaowen Bao, who is associate professor of physiology at Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon has recently released research. Dr. Bao performed experiments on mice who had tinnitus caused by noise-induced hearing loss. And what she and her team discovered implies a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.

According to the scans and tests done on these mice, inflammation was seen in the parts of the brain in control of listening. These tests reveal that noise-induced hearing loss is contributing to some unidentified damage because inflammation is the body’s response to damage.

But this finding of inflammation also brings about the opportunity for a new type of therapy. Because we know (generally speaking) how to handle inflammation. When the mice were given drugs that inhibited the observed inflammation reaction, the symptoms of tinnitus faded away. Or, at least, those symptoms weren’t observable any longer

So is There a Pill to Treat Tinnitus?

If you take a long enough view, you can probably look at this study and see how, one day, there could easily be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–rather than investing in these various coping elements, you can just pop a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus under control.

There are a couple of hurdles but that is certainly the goal:

  • There are a number of causes for tinnitus; it’s really difficult to understand (at this point) whether all or even most tinnitus is associated with inflammation of some type.
  • To start with, these experiments were conducted on mice. This method is not approved yet for people and it may be some time before that happens.
  • We still need to establish whether any new method is safe; these inflammation blocking medications could have dangerous side effects that still need to be identified.

So, a pill to treat tinnitus might be pretty far off. But it’s no longer impossible. That should bring anybody who has tinnitus significant hope. And other strategies are also being studied. Every new finding, every new bit of understanding, brings that cure for tinnitus a little bit closer.

Ca Anything be Done Now?

If you have a continual ringing or buzzing in your ears now, the potential of a far off pill might give you hope – but probably not relief. Modern treatments might not “cure” your tinnitus but they do provide real results.

Some techniques include noise-cancellation devices or cognitive therapies manufactured to help you ignore the sounds linked to your tinnitus. You don’t have to wait for a cure to find relief, you can find help dealing with your tinnitus right now. Spending less time stressing 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 find a therapy that works for you. Get in touch with us for a consultation right away.

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