Looking for a tinnitus cure? In today’s comprehensive article, you will learn about the newest research in search of a cure for tinnitus.
There have been many important tinnitus research discoveries in 2022 and 2023 for potential tinnitus cures and treatments. Tinnitus can be such a difficult condition to live with, but there is hope as many groups work tirelessly on a cure from different angles. This includes genetic findings, wearable devices, and medical treatments like ear medicines and hair cell regrowth. Every one of the developments in this article is vital because it helps us discover what does and doesn’t work for tinnitus. Keep reading to see what is on the horizon for tinnitus.
Michigan Tinnitus Device
This device was developed by Susan Shore, Ph.D. and a research team at the University of Michigan. It may be submitted for FDA consideration under the company name Auricle.
It is a device that uses auditory and somatosensory (certain types of senses) stimuli to the face and neck. This is in the form of headphones and electrodes. Bi-modal stimulation means two kinds of nervous system stimulation are done at the same time. Sound signals that match your tinnitus frequency are specifically timed and paired with small electrical pulses that activate nerves. These nerves are touch sensitive and are believed to affect tinnitus. The pulses are both to reset damaged nerves and suppress the neurons that cause tinnitus.
Susan Shore said “the brain, and specifically the region of the brainstem called the dorsal cochlear nucleus, is the root of tinnitus.” Cells called fusiform cells become hyperactive, which causes the sensation known as tinnitus. The specific timing used in the Michigan Tinnitus Device is what helps turn off these overactive fusiform cells.
A research study done on this was performed using both humans and guinea pigs because guinea pigs have auditory systems very similar to ours. The survey results showed that the loudness of tinnitus decreased after the actual treatment. For some participants, the sound volume decreased by almost 12 dB, which resulted in a significant reduction in volume. Two of the patients said their tinnitus actually vanished. Patients also stated they had improved quality of life and none had any worsening symptoms or other negative effects.
Research has been going into this device for several years and it is promising. It may not work for all types of tinnitus, but shows hope for many. We hope to be able to share more information when it’s ready to try in the near future.
Treble Health Rating: Five Stars. Potential Breakthrough.
Lenire by Neuromod
Lenire employs the idea of bimodal stimulation similar to the Michigan Tinnitus Device. It uses what looks like the original iPod and over-ear headphones. However, their second form of nerve stimulation is a small device for use on the tongue.
It is a light feeling, however, similar to the candy that gently crackles when placed on your tongue. The tongue part of the device stimulates the trigeminal nerve. This is a nerve that provides numerous sensations for the face and mouth.
The Lenire can also be used at home. Its recommended use is 30-60 minutes daily for at least 12 weeks. Neuromod is an Irish company. As such, the device is on the market for public use in several European countries but is awaiting FDA approval in the US.
Their newest research study, released March 2022, showed that 70% of participants stated they benefited from using the Lenire, 87% of them would recommend the device to people they knew who suffered from tinnitus, and 50% had a clinically significant change on a specific tinnitus measurement scale, meaning a change large enough to be important. This device is not a tinnitus cure, but will likely be ultimately used in combination with other treatments for tinnitus.
Treble Health Rating: Four Stars. Promising.
Hair Cell Regeneration
Hair Cell Regeneration with FX-322
Frequency Therapeutics is an MIT spinout. They are aiming to reverse hearing loss not with the existing technology of implants or hearing aids, but by regenerating tiny hair cells in the ear. These cells are part of what allow us to hear. This treatment for hearing loss can also be seen as a potential treatment for tinnitus, as the two are closely related. They have studies published in reputable scientific journals showing some early promise about how their FX-322 injection works.
The main condition in which people have hearing loss is called sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), which affects over 90% of all people who have hearing loss. This happens when hair cells in the inner ear are damaged. They are unable to regrow themselves naturally. This leads to hearing loss.
FX-322 proposes to repair these tiny hairs by drug injections into the ear. There are no FDA-approved treatments to repair these cells as of yet. Studies done so far show mixed results in patients who received the FX-322 dose. Studies in the future need to be expanded to more patients to see if this drug will show significant improvement in those who have tinnitus.
Treble Health Rating: Three Stars. Too early to tell.
Injections In The Ear
OTO-313 was a potential ear injection treatment by Otonomy that now has been shown to not work. An August 2022 press release showed that it had no meaningful effect on any measured points. The company is stopping the development of OTO-313 entirely.
Its Phase 2 trial had 153 patients with persistent moderate to severe tinnitus. They were given either a placebo (fake) injection or an injection of OTO-313. The Phase 2 trial showed that the group who didn’t receive the treatment had higher results than in the previous study. This means that there was no significant correlation between the actual drug injection and any improvements. This is not a possible cure for tinnitus.
They are shifting focus to their OTO-413 injection studies for the treatment of hearing loss. It had Phase 2a results in April 2022 showing continued promising outcomes. Otonomy believes targeted medicine for the cochlea is key for the future of ear-related conditions. They created a way to keep injected medicines in the inner ear for longer than drugs can usually stay on their own. This means longer-lasting medication release and fewer amounts of injections needed.
Treble Health Rating: One Star. Failed.
Methylprednisolone Sodium Succinate Plus Lidocaine Injection
A 2022 study used an injection to an artery near the ear to treat tinnitus.
It studied 80 patients with persistent ringing in the ears. All were given Ginkgo Biloba and Vitamin B12 tablets. Half the group was given lidocaine-only injections and the other half were given lidocaine along with the drug methylprednisolone sodium succinate (a type of corticosteroid anti-inflammatory). This went on for 10 days.
The results were encouraging. An index measurement for tinnitus, Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI), was used to measure the results. While both groups had a decline in tinnitus symptoms and improvement in sleep quality, the group with the full dose of medicines had a greater decrease in symptoms. This means that lidocaine, Ginkgo Biloba, Vitamin B12, and methylprednisolone sodium succinate may work together to reduce tinnitus symptoms.
There were also no side effects aside from slight swelling where the injection went in. The result showed promise with no negative side effects. This means that with further study, the treatment could one day be used for tinnitus patients. Improving sleep quality in patients with tinnitus may be a key benefit from this approach.
Treble Health Rating: Two Stars. Unlikely to do much or be a cure for tinnitus.