You learn to adjust to life with tinnitus. In order to drown out the constant ringing, you always keep the TV on. The loud music at happy hour makes your tinnitus much worse so you avoid going out with your friends. You’re always making appointments to try new techniques and treatments. Ultimately, your tinnitus just becomes something you integrate into your daily life.
Mostly, that’s because there isn’t a cure for tinnitus. But they may be getting close. We might be getting close to a reliable and lasting cure for tinnitus according to research published in PLOS biology. In the meantime, hearing aids can really be helpful.
Tinnitus Has a Murky Set of Causes
Someone who is coping with tinnitus will hear a buzzing or ringing (or other noises) that don’t have an outside source. A disorder that affects millions of people, tinnitus is very common.
It’s also a symptom, broadly speaking, and not itself a cause. Tinnitus is generally caused by something else. It can be difficult to pin down the cause of tinnitus and that’s one of the reasons why a cure is so evasive. Tinnitus symptoms can develop due to several reasons.
Even the connection between tinnitus and hearing loss is not well understood. There’s a link, sure, but not all people who have tinnitus also have hearing loss (and vice versa).
Inflammation: a New Culprit
Research published in PLOS Biology detailed a study directed by Dr. Shaowen Bao, an associate professor of physiology at the Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon. Mice with noise-related tinnitus were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And what she and her colleagues discovered points to 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 listening. As inflammation is the body’s response to damage, this finding does indicate that noise-induced hearing loss could be creating some damage we don’t fully comprehend as of yet.
But this discovery of inflammation also results in the possibility of a new form of treatment. Because inflammation is something we know how to manage. When the mice were given drugs that impeded the observed inflammation response, the symptoms of tinnitus disappeared. Or it became impossible to detect any symptoms, at least.
Does This Mean There’s a Pill For Tinnitus?
This research does appear to indicate that, eventually, there might actually be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that, instead of investing in these various coping mechanisms, you can simply take a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus at bay.
We might get there if we can tackle a few hurdles:
- Any new approach needs to be demonstrated to be safe; it could take some time to identify particular side effects, complications, or problems connected to these specific inflammation-blocking medicines.
- The exact cause of tinnitus will differ from one individual to another; whether all or even most instances of tinnitus are related to some kind of inflammation is still difficult to identify.
- First, these experiments were carried out on mice. Before this approach is considered safe for humans, there’s still a substantial amount of work to do.
So, a pill for tinnitus may be a long way off. But it’s not at all impossible. That’s significant hope for your tinnitus down the road. And, of course, this approach in managing tinnitus isn’t the only one presently being researched. The cure for tinnitus gets closer and closer with every breakthrough and every bit of new knowledge.
What Can You do Today?
If you have a relentless ringing or buzzing in your ears today, the potential of a far-off pill might provide you with hope – but not necessarily relief. Although we don’t have a cure for tinnitus, there are some contemporary treatments that can produce real benefits.
Some approaches include noise-cancellation devices or cognitive therapies designed to help you ignore the sounds linked to your tinnitus. Many people also find relief with hearing aids. You don’t need to go it alone in spite of the fact that a cure is likely several years away. Spending less time thinking about the ringing in your ears and more time doing the things you love can happen for you by getting the right treatment.