You learn to adapt to life with tinnitus. You always leave the TV on to help you tune out the persistent ringing. The loud music at happy hour makes your tinnitus a lot worse so you avoid going out with your coworkers. You make appointments regularly to try new therapies and new treatments. After a while, you simply integrate your tinnitus into your everyday life.
The primary reason is that tinnitus can’t be cured. 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. For now, hearing aids can really help.
The Specific Causes of Tinnitus Are Unclear
Somebody who is coping with tinnitus will hear a ringing or buzzing (or other sounds) that don’t have an outside source. A condition that affects millions of people, tinnitus is very common.
It’s also a symptom, broadly speaking, and not a cause unto itself. Basically, something causes tinnitus – there’s a root issue that causes tinnitus symptoms. One reason why a “cure” for tinnitus is elusive is that these root causes can be difficult to pin down. There are several reasons why tinnitus can manifest.
Even the connection between tinnitus and hearing loss is not well understood. There’s a correlation, sure, but not all individuals who have tinnitus also have hearing loss (and vice versa).
A New Culprit: Inflammation
Research published in PLOS Biology outlined a study directed by Dr. Shaowen Bao, an associate professor of physiology at the Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon. Mice who had noise-related tinnitus were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And what she and her team found points to a tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
According to the scans and tests done on these mice, inflammation was observed in the areas of the brain responsible for hearing. This indicates that some injury is happening as a consequence of noise-related hearing loss which we currently don’t comprehend because inflammation is the body’s response to damage.
But new types of treatment are also made possible by this discovery of inflammation. Because inflammation is something we know how to deal with. The symptoms of tinnitus went away when the mice were given drugs that inhibited inflammation. Or it became impossible to observe any symptoms, at least.
Does This Mean There’s a Pill For Tinnitus?
If you take a long enough look, you can most likely view this research and see how, eventually, there might easily be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that, instead of investing in these numerous coping mechanisms, you can simply take a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus at bay.
We could get there if we can tackle a few hurdles:
- Not everybody’s tinnitus will have the same cause; whether all or even most instances of tinnitus are related to some sort of inflammation is still hard to know.
- First, these experiments were done on mice. Before this strategy is considered safe for humans, there’s still a significant amount of work to do.
- We need to make sure any new strategy is safe; it could take some time to determine particular side effects, complications, or issues linked to these specific inflammation-blocking medications.
So it may be a while before there’s a pill for tinnitus. But it’s a real possibility in the future. If you have tinnitus now, that represents a significant increase in hope. And numerous other tinnitus treatments are also being researched. Every new discovery, every new bit of knowledge, brings that cure for tinnitus just a little bit closer.
What Can You do Today?
If you have a relentless buzzing or ringing in your ears today, the potential of a far-off pill may provide you with hope – but not necessarily relief. There are modern treatments for tinnitus that can provide genuine results, even if they don’t necessarily “cure” the underlying problem.
There are cognitive treatments that help you learn to ignore tinnitus sounds and others that use noise cancellation techniques. Many individuals also get relief with hearing aids. A cure might be many years off, but that doesn’t mean you have to cope with tinnitus by yourself or unaided. Obtaining a treatment that works can help you spend more time doing what you love, and less time focusing on that buzzing or ringing in your ears.