HEARING TIPS

Woman with ringing in her ears.

You’re living with tinnitus and you’ve learned to adjust your life to it. 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 friends. You’re always making appointments to try new techniques and treatments. Over time, you simply integrate your tinnitus into your everyday life.

Mainly, that’s because there isn’t a cure for tinnitus. But they could be getting close. Research published in PLOS Biology seems to give hope that we may be getting closer to a lasting and effective cure for tinnitus. Until then, hearing aids can be really helpful.

The Precise Causes of Tinnitus Are Not Clear

Tinnitus usually manifests as a ringing or buzzing in the ear (though, tinnitus could present as other sounds as well) that do not have an objective cause. A condition that impacts millions of individuals, tinnitus is incredibly common.

Generally speaking, tinnitus is itself a symptom of an underlying problem and not a cause in and of itself. Tinnitus is generally caused by something else. It can be difficult to narrow down the cause of tinnitus and that’s one of the reasons why a cure is so evasive. Tinnitus symptoms can occur due to numerous reasons.

Even the connection between tinnitus and hearing loss is murky. Some individuals who have tinnitus do have hearing loss but some don’t.

A New Culprit: Inflammation

Dr. Shaowen Bao, an associate professor at the Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, conducted a study published in PLOS Biology. Mice with noise-related tinnitus were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And the results of these experiments indicated a culprit of tinnitus: inflammation.

Tests and scans carried out on these mice found that the regions of the brain responsible for listening and hearing consistently had considerable inflammation. This indicates that some injury is taking place as a consequence of noise-related hearing loss which we presently don’t understand because inflammation is the body’s response to damage.

But this discovery of inflammation also leads to the potential for a new type of treatment. Because inflammation is something we know how to manage. When the mice were given drugs that impeded the observed inflammation reaction, the symptoms of tinnitus went away. Or, at least, those symptoms weren’t observable anymore.

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 might easily be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine if you could just take a pill in the morning and keep tinnitus at bay all day without having to turn to all those coping mechanisms.

We may get there if we can tackle a few hurdles:

  • The exact cause of tinnitus will differ from one individual to another; whether all or even most instances of tinnitus are connected to some sort of inflammation is still difficult to identify.
  • Mice were the subject of these experiments. And there’s a long way to go before this particular approach is deemed safe and approved for humans.
  • We need to be sure any new approach is safe; it may take some time to identify particular side effects, complications, or issues related to these particular inflammation-blocking medicines.

So it may be a while before there’s a pill for tinnitus. But it’s a real possibility in the future. That’s considerable hope for your tinnitus down the road. And various other tinnitus treatments are also being researched. The cure for tinnitus gets closer and closer with every breakthrough and every bit of new knowledge.

Is There Anything You Can Do?

If you have a persistent buzzing or ringing in your ears today, the potential of a far-off pill may give you hope – but not necessarily relief. There are contemporary treatments for tinnitus that can provide genuine results, even if they don’t necessarily “cure” the root issue.

There are cognitive therapies that help you learn to ignore tinnitus sounds and others that use noise cancellation techniques. Many people also find relief with hearing aids. You don’t have to go it alone in spite of 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.

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References

https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3000307
https://uanews.arizona.edu/story/brain-inflammation-identified-potential-target-treat-tinnitus

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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