You learn to adjust to life with tinnitus. In order to drown out the continuous ringing, you always leave the TV on. You refrain from going out for happy hour with coworkers because the loud music at the bar makes your tinnitus worse for days. You make appointments routinely to try out new therapies and new techniques. Eventually, your tinnitus just becomes something you integrate into your daily life.
Mainly, that’s because there isn’t a cure for tinnitus. But they could be getting close. Research published in PLOS Biology seems to give hope that we may be getting closer to a lasting and effective cure for tinnitus. In the meantime, hearing aids can really be helpful.
Tinnitus Has a Murky Set of Causes
Somebody who has tinnitus will hear a buzzing or ringing (or other sounds) that don’t have an external source. Tinnitus is really common and millions of people deal with it on some level.
Generally speaking, tinnitus is itself a symptom of an underlying condition and not a cause in and of itself. Tinnitus is generally caused by something else. One of the reasons why a “cure” for tinnitus is evasive is that these root causes can be difficult to narrow down. There are several reasons why tinnitus can occur.
Even the link between tinnitus and hearing loss is not well understood. There’s a link, sure, but not all individuals who have tinnitus also have hearing loss (and vice versa).
Inflammation: a New Culprit
Research published in PLOS Biology outlined a study conducted by Dr. Shaowen Bao, an associate professor of physiology at the Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon. Mice who had noise-related tinnitus were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And what she and her team discovered indicates a tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
According to the scans and tests done on these mice, inflammation was observed around the areas of the brain responsible for hearing. This suggests that some injury is taking place as a consequence of noise-induced hearing loss which we currently don’t understand because inflammation is the body’s reaction to injury.
But new kinds of treatment are also made available by this discovery of inflammation. Because inflammation is something we know how to deal with. The symptoms of tinnitus went away when the mice were given drugs that impeded inflammation. Or, at least, those symptoms weren’t observable anymore.
Does This Mean There’s a Pill For Tinnitus?
If you take a long enough look, you can probably look at this research and see how, eventually, there may easily 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 at bay.
We may get there if we can tackle a few hurdles:
- The exact cause of tinnitus will be distinct from person to person; it’s difficult to identify (at this stage) whether all or even most tinnitus is linked to inflammation of some kind.
- Mice were the focus of these experiments. Before this strategy is considered safe for humans, there’s still a substantial amount of work to do.
- Any new approach needs to be proven safe; these inflammation blocking medicines will have to be tested over time to rule out side effects and any potential complications.
So it might be a while before there’s a pill for tinnitus. But it’s a genuine possibility in the future. That’s considerable hope for your tinnitus down the road. And numerous other tinnitus treatments are also being researched. The cure for tinnitus gets closer and closer with every development and every bit of new knowledge.
Is There Anything You Can Do?
If you have a chronic ringing or buzzing in your ears today, the promise of a far-off pill may provide you with hope – but not necessarily relief. There are contemporary treatments for tinnitus that can produce genuine results, even if they don’t necessarily “cure” the underlying issue.
There are cognitive therapies that help you learn to ignore tinnitus sounds and others that utilize noise cancellation strategies. Many individuals also get relief with hearing aids. You don’t need to go it alone despite the fact that a cure is likely several years away. Obtaining a treatment that is effective can help you spend more time doing what you love, and less time focusing on that buzzing or ringing in your ears.