First things first, what is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus (TIN-ih-tus) is noise or ringing in the ears. A common problem, tinnitus affects about 1 in 5 people. Tinnitus isn't a condition itself — it's a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder.
Although bothersome, tinnitus usually isn't a sign of something serious. Although it can worsen with age, for many people, tinnitus can improve with treatment. Treating an identified underlying cause sometimes helps. Other treatments reduce or mask the noise, making tinnitus less noticeable.
Researchers in New Zealand believe a cure for tinnitus could come from an unlikely source - MDMA.
According to University of Auckland lecturers, early research has shown that a substantial number of sufferers of the condition, which causes constant ringing in the ear, claim their tinnitus went away after taking ecstasy.
University of Auckland postdoctoral fellow Daniel Spiegel said: "The initial idea came from some anecdotal evidence from a research clinic where some participants were quite frank and said that after taking ecstasy their tinnitus went away."
Discussion about whether MDMA could be a possible cure for tinnitus came from the International TRI Tinnitus Conference earlier this month.
University lecturer Grant Searchfield said: "There is no good research yet and that's something that we are hoping to do very soon." He reckons that trials to find a condition for tinnitus using MDMA could start by May.
"Tinnitus for a very long time has been a bit of a mystery, it's really only recently that we have begun to understand more about what causes it and what we can do to reduce it," Searchfield also said.
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