New research released this week suggests that tinnitus can be eliminated by blocking signals between the ear and brain, offering hope to suffers that a cure is within reach.
One in ten people in the UK are affected by tinnitus everyday – ranging from a light buzzing to a constant roar in the ears and head but so far no cure has been found.
Scientists funded by Action on Hearing Loss at the University of Western Australia, treated guinea pigs with a drug called furosemide one week after tinnitus had been triggered by exposure to loud noise. The drug treatment lowered the activity of the auditory nerve, reduced neural hyperactivity in a specific part of the brain that processes sound and crucially the animals treated with the drug no longer displayed signs of tinnitus.
Dr Helmy Mulders who led the research said: ‘Studies in human tinnitus sufferers are still needed to confirm our results and to establish whether or not this approach will be effective for people who have had tinnitus for a long time, but our research shows that lowering the activity of the auditory nerve may be a promising approach to treating recently triggered tinnitus.’
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