You learn to adjust to living with tinnitus. In order to tune out the constant ringing, you always keep the TV on. You avoid going out for happy hour with coworkers because the loud music at the bar makes your tinnitus worse for days. You make appointments regularly to try out new therapies and new treatments. Ultimately, your tinnitus just becomes something you integrate into your day-to-day life.
The main reason is that tinnitus can’t be cured. But they could be getting close. We might be getting close to an effective and lasting cure for tinnitus according to research published in PLOS biology. Until then, hearing aids can be really helpful.
Tinnitus Has a Cloudy Set of Causes
Someone who is coping with tinnitus will hear a ringing or buzzing (or other sounds) that don’t have an external source. A condition that impacts millions of people, tinnitus is extremely common.
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 hard to narrow down. There are a number of reasons why tinnitus can occur.
Even the relationship between tinnitus and hearing loss is unclear. Some people who have tinnitus do have hearing loss but some don’t.
Inflammation: a New Culprit
Dr. Shaowen Bao, an associate professor at the Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, led a study published in PLOS Biology. Dr. Bao carried out experiments on mice who had tinnitus caused by noise-induced hearing loss. And what she and her colleagues found points to a tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
According to the scans and tests carried out on these mice, inflammation was discovered around the areas of the brain responsible for hearing. As inflammation is the body’s reaction to damage, this finding does indicate that noise-induced hearing loss may be creating some damage we don’t really comprehend as yet.
But new types of treatment are also made available by this knowledge of inflammation. Because inflammation is something we know how to address. When the mice were given drugs that inhibited the observed inflammation response, the symptoms of tinnitus disappeared. Or, at least, those symptoms weren’t observable anymore.
Does This Mean There’s a Pill For Tinnitus?
If you take a long enough view, you can probably look at this research and see how, eventually, there could easily be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that, instead of investing in these various coping mechanisms, you can simply pop a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus at bay.
That’s certainly the goal, but there are numerous large hurdles in the way:
- First, these experiments were carried out on mice. Before this strategy is considered safe for humans, there’s still a significant amount of work to do.
- We need to be certain any new approach is safe; it might take some time to identify particular side effects, complications, or problems linked to these specific inflammation-blocking medications.
- Not everyone’s tinnitus will have the same cause; whether all or even most cases of tinnitus are connected to some kind of inflammation is still hard to know.
So, a pill for tinnitus may be a long way off. But it’s not at all impossible. That’s considerable hope for your tinnitus down the road. And, of course, this strategy in treating tinnitus isn’t the only one presently being explored. The cure for tinnitus gets closer and closer with every development and every bit of new knowledge.
What Can You do Today?
In the meantime, individuals with tinnitus should feel optimistic that in the future there will be a cure for tinnitus. There are contemporary treatments for tinnitus that can provide genuine results, even if they don’t necessarily “cure” the root problem.
Some approaches include noise-cancellation devices or cognitive therapies created to help you ignore the sounds related to your tinnitus. Many individuals also find relief with hearing aids. You don’t have to go it alone despite the fact that a cure is probably several years away. Spending less time worrying about the ringing in your ears and more time doing the things you love can happen for you by finding the right treatment.