What Causes Tinnitus? Here is a New Study

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

When you suffer from tinnitus, you learn to deal with it. You keep the television on to help you tune the constant ringing out. You avoid going dancing because the loudness of the bar makes your tinnitus worse for days. You check in with specialists regularly to try out new solutions and new techniques. Eventually, your tinnitus just becomes something you fold into your daily life.

Mostly, that’s because there’s no cure for tinnitus. Changes could be coming, however. New research published in PLOS Biology seems to provide hope that we might be getting closer to a permanent and reliable cure for tinnitus.

Causes of Tinnitus

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

It’s also a symptom, generally speaking, and not a cause unto itself. Put simply, tinnitus is caused by something else – tinnitus symptoms are the outcome of some underlying concern. These root causes can be tough to diagnose and that’s one reason why a cure is elusive. There are various possible reasons for tinnitus symptoms.

Even the relationship between tinnitus and hearing loss is not clear though most people link the two. There’s a correlation, sure, but not all people who have tinnitus also have hearing loss (and vice versa).

Inflammation: a New Culprit

The new study published in PLOS Biology outlined a study lead by Dr. Shaowen Bao, an associate professor of physiology at the Arizona College of Medicine in Tuscon. Mice that had tinnitus brought about by noise induced hearing loss were experimented on by Dr. Bao. And a new culprit for tinnitus was discovered by her and her team: inflammation.

Inflammation was seen in the brain centers responsible for hearing when scans were done to these mice. As inflammation is the body’s response to injury, this finding does suggest that noise-induced loss of hearing may be causing some damage we don’t fully understand yet.

But a new type of approach is also opened up by these discoveries. Because we know (generally speaking) how to deal with inflammation. The tinnitus symptoms went away when the mice were treated for inflammation. Or, at least, those symptoms weren’t observable any longer

Does This Mean There’s a Pill to Treat Tinnitus?

If you take a patient enough viewpoint, you can definitely look at this research and see how, one day, there could easily be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine if keeping your tinnitus at bay was a routine matter of taking your morning medicine and you could avoid all of the coping mechanisms you have to do now.

There are some hurdles but that is certainly the goal:

  • Any new approach needs to be confirmed to be safe; these inflammation blocking medications may have dangerous side effects that still need to be identified.
  • Not everyone’s tinnitus will be caused the same way; Whether any particular forms of tinnitus are related to inflammation is still not certain.
  • These experiments were first performed on mice. And it will be a while before this particular method is safe and authorized for use on humans.

So it could be pretty far off before we get a pill to treat tinnitus. But at least now it’s achievable. That should offer anyone who has tinnitus substantial hope. And other approaches are also being researched. That cure gets closer and closer with every bit of practical knowledge and every new discovery.

What Can You do Today?

If you have a continual ringing or buzzing in your ears now, the potential of a far off pill may provide you with hope – but probably not relief. There are current treatments for tinnitus that can produce real results, even if they don’t really “cure” the underlying problem.

Some strategies include noise-cancellation units or cognitive therapies manufactured to help you brush off the sounds linked to your tinnitus. A cure might be several years off, but that doesn’t mean you have to cope with tinnitus on your own or unassisted. Spending less time stressing about the buzzing or ringing in your ears and more time doing what you love is the reason why you should let us help you find a treatment that works for you. Contact us for a consultation right away.

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.