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Breakthrough Made in Fight Against Tinnitus

There is a new promising drug that scientists say will make an impact in the fight against tinnitus.

According to Hear-it.org, researchers testing the drug furosemide have discovered it can reduce the hyperactivity that causesConnect Hearing Tinnitus tinnitus. Australian neuroscientists have found a connection between noise induced tinnitus and hyperactivity in the nerve cells of the brain, and believe Furosemide can make a difference.

Webmd.com describes tinnitus (pronounced ti-ni-tis) as a ringing in the ears, or the sensation of hearing ringing, buzzing, hissing, chirping, whistling, or other sounds. The noise can be intermittent or continuous, and can vary in loudness. It is often worse when background noise is low, so you may be most aware of it at night when you're trying to fall asleep in a quiet room. In rare cases, the sound beats in sync with your heart (pulsatile tinnitus).

According to drugs.com, Furosemide is a loop diuretic (water pill) that prevents the body from absorbing too much salt, allowing the salt to instead be passed in your urine. Furosemide treats fluid retention (edema) in people with congestive heart failure, liver disease, or a kidney disorder such as nephrotic syndrome. This medication is also used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). The study was funded by the charity Action on Hearing Loss.

Another advantage - Furosemide is usually used to reduce swellings and water retention but has now shown to be helpful in reducing hyperactivity in the brain and may therefore lead to a cure for tinnitus. The next step is to test the effects of furosemide on people with noise induced tinnitus, according to hear-it.org.

TinnitusTalk.com says the drug works by lowering activity of the auditory nerve, reducing neural hyperactivity in a specific part of the brain that processes sound.

Dr Helmy Mulders, who led the research, said: “Studies in human tinnitus sufferers are still needed to confirm our results but lowering the activity of the auditory nerve may be a promising approach.”

Connect Hearing Canada has written extensively about tinnitus over the years. In a recent article, we quoted Veterans Affairs of Canada, who said tinnitus regularly accompanies such disorders as presbycusis and noise-induced hearing loss and otosclerosis. It is one of the three symptoms of Meniere's disease. For most people, tinnitus is less bothersome during the day when they are surrounded by noise related to their job or activities. Tinnitus often becomes more noticeable at night and may cause sleep disorders.

Jon Waterhouse, Manager of Professional Practice for Connect Hearing Canada is thrilled by the progress that is being made in the fight against hearing loss. He believes this research will help more people than ever overcome challenges that come with tinnitus.

“Tinnitus is an extremely difficult thing for people to deal with on a daily basis. Depending on the person and the severity, tinnitus can be unbearable,” says Jon Waterhouse, Manager of Professional Practice for Connect Hearing Canada, adding that the condition affects people from all walks of life, including celebrities such as Barbra Streisand, Canadian actor William Shatner and David Letterman. “I'm excited to see these breakthroughs in research, and it's my hope that this furosemide study will lead to further studies that will enhance the lives of people who are dealing with this condition.”

Waterhouse praised the men and women who are making a difference in labs and clinics around the world, but still encourages people to visit Connect Hearing for a free hearing test.

“It's wonderful and encouraging the see the great work being done,” says Waterhouse. “But the best weapon we have against hearing loss is and always will be diligence. Make sure you do your part and make your ears a priority in 2015.”

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