Hearing Health Blog

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. You leave the television on to help you tune out the constant ringing. You skip going dancing because the loudness of the bar makes your tinnitus worse for days after. You’re constantly trying new solutions and techniques with your hearing care expert. Eventually, your tinnitus simply becomes something you fold into your daily way of life.

Tinnitus doesn’t have a cure so you feel powerless. Changes might be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology suggests that an effective and permanent cure for tinnitus might be coming soon.

Tinnitus Causes

Tinnitus commonly is experienced as a ringing or buzzing in the ear (although, tinnitus might be experienced as other noises too) that do not have an objective cause. A problem that impacts over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s very common for people to have tinnitus.

It’s also a symptom, in general, and not a cause unto itself. Put simply, something triggers tinnitus – tinnitus symptoms are the outcome of some root concern. One of the reasons why a “cure” for tinnitus is challenging is that these root causes can be difficult to narrow down. There are many possible reasons for tinnitus symptoms.

Even the relationship between tinnitus and loss of hearing is unclear although most people connect the two. There’s a link, certainly, but not all people who have tinnitus also have hearing loss (and vice versa).

A New Culprit: Inflammation

The new research published in PLOS Biology highlighted 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 induced by noise-induced hearing loss. And a new culprit for tinnitus was revealed by her and her team: inflammation.

Based on the tests and scans carried out on these mice, inflammation was observed in the areas of the brain responsible for hearing. These Scans indicate that noise-induced hearing loss is causing some unknown injury because inflammation is the body’s reaction to damage.

But a new kind of treatment is also opened up by these results. Because handling inflammation is something we understand how to do (in general). When the mice were given drugs that inhibited the detected inflammation response, the symptoms of tinnitus disappeared. Or at the very least there were no longer observable symptoms of tinnitus.

So is There a Pill to Treat Tinnitus?

If you take a patient enough viewpoint, you can definitely look at this research and see how, one day, there may definitely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–rather than counting on these various coping elements, you can just pop a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus at bay.

That’s definitely the objective, but there are various big obstacles in the way:

  • There are a number of causes for tinnitus; Which particular forms of tinnitus are connected to inflammation is still not certain.
  • Any new approach needs to be confirmed to be safe; it might take some time to determine specific side effects, concerns, or issues related to these particular inflammation-blocking medications.
  • These experiments were first performed on mice. And there’s a long way to go before this particular approach is safe and approved for people.

So it could be pretty far off before we get a pill to treat tinnitus. But at least now it’s feasible. That should give anybody who has tinnitus substantial hope. And other approaches are also being researched. That cure gets closer with every bit of practical knowledge and every new discovery.

Ca Anything be Done Now?

If you have a continual buzzing or ringing in your ears today, the potential of a far off pill could give you hope – but not necessarily relief. Current treatments might not “cure” your tinnitus but they do produce real results.

Being able to tune out or ignore tinnitus noises, sometimes employing noise canceling headphones or cognitive therapies is what modern techniques are trying to do. You don’t have to wait for a cure to find relief, you can find help coping with your tinnitus right now. Spending less time worrying about the ringing or buzzing in your ears and more time doing what you enjoy is the reason why you should let us help you find a therapy that works for you. Schedule your appointment right away.

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