Scientists have claimed a potential breakthrough in the search for a cure for tinnitus.
Tinnitus is a common sensation, where a person hears noises in their ears. This condition affects around 10 per cent of people.
Research findings suggest that treating inflammation in the sound processing region of the brain could lead to a treatment or even a cure for tinnitus and other hearing loss-related disorders.
In mice that had noise-induced hearing loss, the study showed inflammation in the sound processing region of the brain-controlled ringing in the ears.
Lead author, professor Shaowen Bao at the University of Arizona said:
“Hearing loss is a widespread condition that affects approximately 500 million individuals and is a major risk factor for tinnitus – the perception of noise or ringing in the ears.”
The results indicate noise-induced hearing loss is associated with elevated levels of molecules called proinflammatory cytokines and the activation of non-neuronal cells called microglia – two defining features of neuroinflammatory responses – in the primary auditory cortex.
Although the therapy was successful in animals, further studies to investigate potential adverse effects need to take place before human trials can commence.
The most common cause of tinnitus is damage and loss of the tiny sensory hair cells in the cochlea of the inner ear. This happens more as people age and it can also be as a result from prolonged exposure to excessively loud noise.
Christian, B – Evening Standard. (2019). Accessible: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/scientists-make-breakthrough-in-search-for-tinnitus-cure-a4171026.html. Last Accessed: 24 June 2019.
Daily Mail. (2019). Drug to reduce brain inflammation CURED tinnitus in mice – paving the way towards a pill for humans. Accessible: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7155337/Drug-reduce-brain-inflammation-CURED-tinnitus-mice-paving-way-pill-humans.html. Last Accessed: 25 June 2019.