According to an article published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, “Patients want their tinnitus loudness reduced and would prefer a pharmacological solution over other modalities.” But unfortunately, there’s no magic pill that can cure your tinnitus. However, there are other options that can treat it.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a phantom ringing, roaring, hissing, whistling, buzzing, humming or other sound in the ears with no external source. For some, it is intermittent and annoying, while for others it is constant and debilitating, especially in quiet areas like Lakes Regional Library. Tinnitus can have a major impact on quality of life.
What Causes Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is thought to be due to damage to the sensory hair cells in the inner ear that convert soundwaves into electrical energy for the brain to interpret as sound, which can cause them to misfire. This damage can be caused by noise exposure, ototoxic medications, impacted earwax or other health conditions.
Why Is There No Cure for Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is a symptom rather than a disease itself. So unless the underlying cause can be addressed, the tinnitus cannot be cured. However, in many cases, the damage is permanent and cannot be undone.
Will There Ever Be a Cure for Tinnitus?
Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and the Veterans Affairs (VA) Portland Medical Center are currently examining a new tinnitus treatment called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS is currently FDA-approved to treat depression, but researchers are hopeful it will show benefit for tinnitus, too. So far, the trials have shown positive results with no adverse effects.
Other potential treatments in the research phase include:
- Drug therapy from a company called Otonomy.
- Electromagnetic treatments, originally developed to treat Parkinson’s disease.
- Light therapy, currently used to treat depression, psoriasis and acne.
What Are My Options for Treating Tinnitus Now?
Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for these treatments to reach FDA approval to experience relief. Current options include:
- Hearing aids, which work by amplifying sounds in your environment to drown out the sounds of your tinnitus.
- Tinnitus maskers, which are devices worn on the ear that play white noise to cover the sounds of your tinnitus.
- Therapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and tinnitus retraining therapy (TRT), can help you learn to cope with your tinnitus.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Gulf Coast Audiology today.