Evanston Audiology - Evanston, IL

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

When you suffer from tinnitus, you learn to cope with it. You leave the television on to help you tune the constant ringing out. And loud music at bars is making your tinnitus worse so you avoid going dancing. You check in with experts frequently to try out new therapies and new techniques. You just work tinnitus into your everyday life eventually.

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

Tinnitus Causes

You’re suffering from tinnitus if you hear a buzzing or ringing (or in some cases other noises) with no objective cause. A problem that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s incredibly common for people to suffer from tinnitus.

And it isn’t a cause itself but a symptom of something else. In other words, something triggers tinnitus – tinnitus symptoms are the outcome of some root problem. One reason why a “cure” for tinnitus is challenging is that these underlying causes can be hard to narrow down. There are numerous possible causes for tinnitus symptoms.

It is true, most people attribute 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

The new study published in PLOS Biology highlighted a study lead by Dr. Shaowen Bao, an associate professor of physiology at the Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon. Dr. Bao performed experiments on mice who had tinnitus triggered by noise-induced loss of hearing. And a new culprit for tinnitus was revealed by her and her team: inflammation.

According to the scans and tests performed on these mice, inflammation was found around the areas of the brain responsible for listening. As inflammation is the body’s reaction to injury, this finding does suggest that noise-induced loss of hearing could be causing some harm we don’t fully understand yet.

But this discovery of inflammation also brings about the opportunity for a new kind of therapy. Because we know (generally speaking) how to deal with inflammation. The tinnitus symptoms went away when the mice were treated for inflammation. Or, at a minimum, those symptoms were no longer observable.

Does This Mean There’s a Pill for Tinnitus?

One day there will probably be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–instead of investing in these various coping elements, you can just take a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus at bay.

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

  • These experiments were performed first on mice. This method is not approved yet for humans and it may be quite some time before that happens.
  • There are a number of causes for tinnitus; it’s really difficult to know (for now) whether all or even most tinnitus is related to inflammation of some kind.
  • All new approaches need to be confirmed to be safe; it may take some time to determine precise side effects, concerns, or problems related to these specific inflammation-blocking medications.

So, a pill to treat tinnitus might be a long way off. But it isn’t impossible. If you suffer from tinnitus today, that represents a substantial boost in hope. And other strategies are also being researched. Every new finding, every new bit of knowledge, brings that cure for tinnitus just a bit closer.

Can Anything be Done Now?

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

Some techniques include noise-cancellation devices or cognitive therapies manufactured to help you ignore the sounds connected to your tinnitus. A cure may be several years away, but that doesn’t mean you have to deal with tinnitus by yourself or unassisted. Spending less time stressing 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 treatment that works for you. Contact us for a consultation now.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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