Australian scientists believe they've identified the root cause of tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, a finding that could boost efforts to find a cure for the condition, which is often associated with hearing loss.
The study, conducted in guinea pigs, found that uncontrolled nerve activity within brain areas that process sound results in the noises experienced by people with tinnitus. This increased nerve activity was linked to changes in genes that regulate the activity of nerve cells, BBC News reported.
The finding suggests it may be possible to treat tinnitus by silencing nerve activity.
"Identifying genes associated with spontaneous nerve cell activity is crucial. It means it may be possible to use drugs to block this activity and treat conditions such as tinnitus in the future," said lead researcher Professor Don Robertson, BBC News reported.