A team from the University of Arizona have created a protein-blocking treatment that prevented tinntius in lab rodents who had developed the condition after being exposed to loud noise for a few hours.
Tinnitus is the perception of sounds when there is no real external sound. Roughly 10-15% of the population suffer from tinnitus at some point of their lives, it usually sounds like a hiss, buzz, whine or clicking noise. Tinnitus is strongly associated with hearing loss, those with a hearing loss are far more likely to experience it.
No-one has been able to discover why condition occurs and up till now there has been no know cure.
Professor Shaowen Bao and the team from the University of Arizona found that the irritating and potentially debilitating condition was reduced in mice by blocking a protein that fuels brain inflammation. They hope to produce a pill for humans that would do the same. It's still early days and trials to determine the safety for humans could take a long time.
Professor Bao 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.
These results implicate neuro-inflammation as a therapeutic target for treating tinnitus and other hearing loss related disorders.’
Always frustrating that these hearing-loss-related studies, findings and breakthroughs are always a long way off from market but some day they will make hearing loss and tinntius and thing of the past.