You’re living with tinnitus and you’ve learned to adapt your life to it. In order to tune out the continuous ringing, you always keep the TV on. You refrain from going out for happy hour with friends because the loud music at the bar makes your tinnitus worse for days. You make appointments routinely to try new therapies and new treatments. Over time, you simply fold your tinnitus into your daily life.
The primary reason is that tinnitus can’t be cured. But they may be getting close. We might be getting close to an effective and permanent cure for tinnitus according to research published in PLOS biology. Until then, hearing aids can be really helpful.
Tinnitus Has a Murky Set of Causes
Tinnitus usually is experienced as a ringing or buzzing in the ear (though, tinnitus could present as other sounds too) that do not have an external cause. A disorder that affects millions of individuals, tinnitus is very common.
It’s also a symptom, generally speaking, and not itself a cause. Tinnitus is generally caused by something else. One reason why a “cure” for tinnitus is elusive is that these underlying causes can be hard to pin down. There are a number of reasons why tinnitus can develop.
Even the connection between tinnitus and hearing loss is murky. Some individuals 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, conducted a study published in PLOS Biology. Dr. Bao carried out experiments on mice that had tinnitus triggered by noise-induced hearing loss. And what she and her colleagues found points to a tinnitus culprit: inflammation.
According to the scans and tests performed on these mice, inflammation was discovered around the areas of the brain responsible for hearing. As inflammation is the body’s response to damage, this finding does indicate that noise-induced hearing loss could be creating some damage we don’t completely understand as of yet.
But this discovery of inflammation also results in the potential for a new type of treatment. Because inflammation is something we know how to address. The symptoms of tinnitus went away when the mice were given drugs that inhibited inflammation. Or it became impossible to detect any symptoms, at least.
So is There a Magic Pill That Cures Tinnitus?
If you take a long enough look, you can most likely view this research and see how, eventually, there may easily be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine if you could just pop a pill in the morning and keep tinnitus at bay all day without needing to turn to all those coping mechanisms.
That’s certainly the goal, but there are numerous big hurdles in the way:
- Mice were the focus of these experiments. And there’s a lot to do before this specific strategy is considered safe and approved for humans.
- We need to be sure any new approach is safe; it might take some time to identify particular side effects, complications, or problems connected to these particular inflammation-blocking medications.
- Not everybody’s tinnitus will have the same cause; whether all or even most cases of tinnitus are linked to some kind of inflammation is still hard to identify.
So it might be a while before there’s a pill for tinnitus. But it’s a genuine possibility in the future. That’s considerable hope for your tinnitus down the road. And numerous other tinnitus treatments are also being studied. Every new development, every new bit of knowledge, brings that cure for tinnitus just a little bit closer.
What Can You do Now?
For now, individuals with tinnitus should feel optimistic that in the future there will be a cure for tinnitus. Although we don’t have a cure for tinnitus, there are some contemporary treatments that can produce real results.
There are cognitive therapies that help you learn to ignore tinnitus sounds and others that utilize noise cancellation techniques. Many individuals also get relief with hearing aids. You don’t have to go it alone despite the fact that a cure is likely 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 getting the right treatment.