A Recent Study about Treatments for Tinnitus

Feb 15, 2014 by

HearFlorida Audiology Group knows that tinnitus affects millions of people. For those who are not familiar with exactly what tinnitus is, it is a disease that affects the ears. It causes a nonstop high pitched ringing or buzzing noise, which is extremely annoying and to many people suffering with it, maddening. Unfortunately, there is no cure, though researchers have been taking huge steps into the understanding of what causes tinnitus and how we could potentially put the ringing to rest!

Neuroscientists at the University of California, Berkeley recently published their findings on tinnitus and have a few new suggestions for treatment. One of the new treatment ideas was retraining the brain. Loud noises damages to the hair cells in the inner ear which in return leave a gap in frequencies that these hair cells send to the brain. More or less, ringing doesn’t originate in the ear, but in the brain, in areas such as the auditory cortex, which is receiving input from the ear. One theory is that the ringing is a phantom noise made by neurons that have lost their sensory input from the ear, therefore they start firing off spontaneously. By retraining the brain, researchers hope that they could reduce spontaneous firing by giving the cells a new form of input. Through reorganizing the cortical map, researchers believe that this would resolve tinnitus.

Another suggestion to help cure tinnitus was to find a drug that would be able to inhibit the random firing by neurons in the auditory cortex. Through a study done on rats with tinnitus, when the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA was increased, the rat’s tinnitus was cured. Though, there is still much work that must be done before any of this treatment could be used in people, as the side effects of increased GABA currently prohibit its human use.

These steps are huge in finding a treatment for tinnitus and a cure could mean peace for so many people. If you suffer from tinnitus, contact HearFlorida. The hearing care professionals at HearFlorida offer tinnitus treatments.

Click here for more information about tinnitus and the treatments available