Are Your Ears Ringing? This Could Offer Relief

Woman with ringing in her ears.

You’re living with tinnitus and you’ve learned to adjust your life to it. You always keep the TV on to help you tune out the constant ringing. You avoid going out for happy hour with friends because the loud music at the bar makes your tinnitus worse for days. You’re always going in to try new techniques and therapies. Over time, you simply fold your tinnitus into your daily life.

The main reason is that tinnitus can’t be cured. But that could be changing. We may be getting close to an effective and lasting cure for tinnitus according to research published in PLOS biology. In the meantime, hearing aids can really be helpful.

The Precise Causes of Tinnitus Are Not Clear

Somebody who has tinnitus will hear a buzzing or ringing (or other sounds) that don’t have an outside source. A condition that impacts millions of people, tinnitus is very common.

It’s also a symptom, broadly speaking, and not a cause unto itself. Tinnitus is generally caused by something else. One reason why a “cure” for tinnitus is elusive is that these root causes can be difficult to pin down. Tinnitus symptoms can occur due to a number of reasons.

True, most individuals attribute tinnitus to hearing loss of some sort, but even that relationship is murky. There’s a link, sure, but not all individuals who have tinnitus also have hearing loss (and vice versa).

Inflammation: a New Culprit

Research published in PLOS Biology outlined a study conducted 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 the results of these experiments pointed to a culprit of tinnitus: inflammation.

According to the tests and scans performed on these mice, inflammation was discovered in the areas of the brain responsible for listening. 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 fully comprehend as of yet.

But this discovery of inflammation also leads to the possibility of a new kind of treatment. Because inflammation is something we know how to address. When the mice were given drugs that inhibited the observed inflammation reaction, the symptoms of tinnitus disappeared. Or, at least, those symptoms were no longer observable.

So is There a Magic Pill That Cures Tinnitus?

If you take a long enough view, you can probably look at this research and see how, eventually, there may easily be a pill for tinnitus. Imagine that, rather than investing in these various coping mechanisms, you can simply pop a pill in the morning and keep your tinnitus at bay.

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

  • Mice were the focus of these experiments. And there’s a lot to do before this particular approach is deemed safe and approved for humans.
  • Any new approach needs to be proven safe; it could take some time to identify particular side effects, complications, or problems related to these particular inflammation-blocking medications.
  • The exact cause of tinnitus will be distinct from one individual to another; it’s difficult to know (at this point) whether all or even most tinnitus is linked to inflammation of some type.

So, a pill for tinnitus may be a long way off. But it’s no longer impossible. If you have tinnitus now, that represents a considerable increase in hope. And, obviously, this approach in treating tinnitus is not the only one currently being studied. The cure for tinnitus gets closer and closer with every development and every bit of new knowledge.

What Can You do Now?

For now, individuals with tinnitus should feel hopeful that in the future there will be a cure for tinnitus. Although we don’t have a cure for tinnitus, there are some modern treatments that can produce real results.

Some methods include noise-cancellation devices or cognitive therapies created to help you ignore the sounds linked to your tinnitus. Many people also get relief with hearing aids. A cure might be a number of years off, but that doesn’t mean you need to deal with tinnitus by yourself or unassisted. Spending less time thinking about the ringing in your ears and more time doing the things you love can happen for you by finding the right treatment.


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.