What Causes Tinnitus? Here is Some New Research

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

Learning to cope with tinnitus is often how you manage it. To help tune it out you leave the television on. And loud music at bars is making your tinnitus worse so you stay away from going dancing. You’re always trying new therapies and strategies with your hearing care expert. You just fold tinnitus into your daily life after a while.

Mainly, that’s because there isn’t any cure for tinnitus. Changes might be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology indicates that an reliable and permanent cure for tinnitus might be on the horizon.

Tinnitus Causes

You’re experiencing tinnitus if you hear a ringing or buzzing (or at times other sounds) with no apparent cause. A condition that affects over 50 million people in the United States alone, it’s very common for people to suffer from tinnitus.

And it isn’t a cause itself but a symptom of something else. Simply put, tinnitus is caused by something else – there’s an underlying issue that creates tinnitus symptoms. These root causes can be difficult to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is challenging. Tinnitus symptoms can occur due to a number of reasons.

True, most people attribute tinnitus to loss of hearing of some type, but even that connection is unclear. There is some connection but there are some people who 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. Mice that had tinnitus caused by noise induced hearing loss were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And what she and her team discovered indicates a new tinnitus culprit: inflammation.

Inflammation was seen in the brain centers responsible for hearing when scans were done to these mice. These Scans reveal that noise-induced hearing loss is producing some unidentified damage because inflammation is the body’s response to damage.

But a new type of treatment is also made possible by these discoveries. Because handling inflammation is something we understand how to do (generally). The tinnitus symptoms disappear 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 likely be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that–rather than investing in these various coping mechanisms, you can just pop a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus under control.

That’s clearly the goal, but there are many significant obstacles in the way:

  • There are many causes for tinnitus; Whether any particular forms of tinnitus are connected to inflammation is still unclear.
  • Any new approach needs to be proven safe; it may take some time to determine precise side effects, complications, or issues related to these particular medications that block inflammation.
  • First, these experiments were done on mice. And there’s a long way to go before this particular strategy is safe and approved for people.

So it could be a long way off before we get a pill for tinnitus. But at least it’s now feasible. If you have tinnitus today, that represents a substantial increase in hope. And, obviously, this strategy in managing tinnitus is not the only one currently being researched. That cure gets closer with every bit of knowledge and every new discovery.

Ca Anything be Done Now?

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

Some techniques include noise-cancellation units or cognitive therapies created to help you dismiss the noises connected to your tinnitus. A cure could be several years off, but that doesn’t mean you have to deal with tinnitus alone or unaided. Spending less time stressing about the ringing or buzzing in your ears and more time doing what you enjoy is the reason why you should let us help you discover a therapy that works for you. Schedule your appointment today.