Hearing Services of Nashville

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

When you suffer from tinnitus, you learn to live with it. To help tune it out you keep the television on. And loud music at bars is causing your hearing loss to get worse so you avoid going dancing. You’re constantly trying new therapies and techniques with your hearing care expert. You simply work tinnitus into your daily life after a while.

Tinnitus has no cure so you feel powerless. Changes may be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology indicates that an reliable and permanent cure for tinnitus could be coming soon.

Causes of Tinnitus

You’re dealing with tinnitus if you hear a ringing or buzzing (or in some cases other noises) with no objective cause. A condition that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, tinnitus is remarkably common.

And it isn’t a cause itself but a symptom of something else. Simply put, tinnitus is caused by something else – there’s a root problem that creates tinnitus symptoms. These underlying causes can be difficult to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is elusive. There are many possible reasons for tinnitus symptoms.

True, the majority of people connect tinnitus to hearing loss of some type, but even that relationship is not clear. There is some connection but some people 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 published a study. Mice that had tinnitus caused by noise induced hearing loss were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And what she and her team discovered implies a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.

Inflammation was seen in the brain centers 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 hearing loss could be causing some damage we don’t completely understand yet.

But this finding of inflammation also brings about the opportunity for a new form of treatment. Because handling inflammation is something we know how to do (in general). When the mice were given drugs that inhibited the detected inflammation reaction, the symptoms of tinnitus disappeared. Or at the very least there were no longer observable symptoms of tinnitus.

So is There a Pill For Tinnitus?

One day there will likely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine if keeping your tinnitus at bay was a simple matter of taking your morning medicine and you could avoid all of the coping mechanisms you need to do now.

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

  • There are several causes for tinnitus; Which specific types of tinnitus are connected to inflammation is still not certain.
  • To start with, these experiments were done on mice. This approach isn’t yet approved for people and it could be a while before it is.
  • Any new approach needs to be confirmed to be safe; these inflammation blocking medications might have unsafe side effects that still need to be identified.

So, a pill for tinnitus may be a long way off. But at least now it’s possible. If you suffer from tinnitus now, that means a substantial boost in hope. And, of course, this strategy in treating tinnitus is not the only one currently being researched. Every new finding, every new bit of understanding, brings that cure for tinnitus just a little bit closer.

Ca Anything be Done Now?

If you have a persistent buzzing or ringing in your ears today, the potential of a far off pill may provide you with hope – but probably not relief. There are current therapies for tinnitus that can produce real results, even if they don’t necessarily “cure” the underlying issue.

Some methods include noise-cancellation units or cognitive therapies manufactured to help you ignore the noises connected to your tinnitus. A cure might be several years away, but that doesn’t mean you have to deal with tinnitus by yourself or unaided. Spending less time being stressed about the ringing or buzzing in your ears and more time doing what you love is the reason why you should let us help you discover a therapy that works for you. Contact us for a consultation right away.

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