Pitt Team Finds Biologic Mechanism That Causes Noise-Induced Tinnitus and Drug That Can Prevent It
PITTSBURGH, May 27, 2013 – An epilepsy drug shows promise in an animal model at preventing tinnitus from developing after exposure to loud noise, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The findings, reported this week in the early online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveal for the first time the reason the chronic and sometimes debilitating condition occurs.
An estimated 5 to 15 percent of Americans hear whistling, clicking, roaring and other phantom sounds of tinnitus, which typically is induced by exposure to very loud noise, said senior investigator Thanos Tzounopoulos, Ph.D., associate professor and member of the auditory research group in the Department of Otolaryngology, Pitt School of Medicine.
“There is no cure for it, and current therapies such as hearing aids don’t provide relief for many patients,” he said. “We hope that by identifying the underlying cause, we can develop effective interventions.”