5 Natural Home Remedies for Tinnitus

5 Natural Home Remedies Proven to Help Stop Ringing in the Ears

Written by Nathan Hageman, MD, Ph.D

Disclaimer:

Natural Remedies for TinnitusTinnitus is a symptom, not a disease, and there are many causes and etiologies for it. The majority of causes of tinnitus are quite benign, however, sometimes, tinnitus can be a sign of a serious underlying health issue, including life-threatening hypertension, stroke, or serious neurological problem. Therefore, anybody experiencing chronic or severe tinnitus should always get it checked out by your doctor

In addition, the information on the remedies discussed below is by no means exhaustive and your own experience with any of these remedies may differ significantly from what is described. Also, some can have serious interactions with other medical problems or medications. Therefore, always consult with your doctor before starting these or any other home remedy.

Remedy 1: Niacin

Niacin, or vitamin B3, has been used for years as a treatment for tinnitus. Its efficacy is thought to be due to its effects on vascular smooth muscle, which promotes increased blood flow to the tiny blood vessels supplying the inner ear and the inner hair cells, which are frequent thought to play a role in the development of tinnitus. Because niacin relaxes vascular smooth muscle everywhere, many people taking niacin initially will experience strong, temporary facial blushing as a side effect. Although possibly annoying or alarming, the blushing is not a cause for concern and will often improve over time. Approximately 50% of people report successful treatment of their tinnitus with niacin, with complete remission or significant reduction in symptom intensity [1].

Remedy 2: Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba extract has been shown to be variably effective in the treatment of tinnitus. The extract contains bio-flavenoids and terpene lactones, which inhibit platelet aggregation and promote blood vessel elasticity, increasing blood flow to the small vessels of the brain and inner ear. Ginkgo biloba extract is also a powerful antioxidant which may help slow age-related degeneration of hair cells and other middle and inner ear structures. [2] Note that therapeutic effects may not been seen for up to 12 weeks, so treatment should be continued for at least that long. [1, 2]

Remedy 3: Acupuncture

Numerous acupuncture sites are present near the ear for the treatment of tinnitus.  However, properly blinded clinical studies (i.e. where patients do not know which type of treatment they are receiving) have not shown any statistically significant benefit of acupuncture for tinnitus.  When subjects are not blinded, acupuncture has been shown to be quite effective, suggesting that treatment is strongly dependent on the belief and trust of the patient (placebo effect). [3]

Remedy 4: White/Background Noise Generators

Noise generators or maskers can help relieve the disturbing symptoms of tinnitus. Some of these devices made for daytime use resemble hearing aids and fit behind the ear or in the ear, delivering a constant low-level white noise that masks, or at least decreases the intensity of, the symptoms. [4] More commonly, however, people are bothered by tinnitus at night, especially at bedtime. In these instances, a simple bedside clock radio may serve as a useful masker and help drown out the tinnitus or at least provide a sufficient distraction. In addition, after all-night therapy with a masker, there is commonly a residual inhibition of the perceived tinnitus that persists for most of the day. [5]

Remedy 5: Melatonin

Melatonin has been shown to be effective in the treatment of tinnitus, especially in severe cases. Clinical studies (prospective, double-blind) looking at subjects with chronic tinnitus taking 3 mg of melatonin showed significant reduction in severity of symptoms, as compared to control subjects. [6] In addition, studies have shown that melatonin therapy can be combined with the application of cortisone or another corticosteroid to the inner ear, resulting in even greater efficacy and improvement of symptoms. [7]

REFERENCES

[1] Moller AR. Sensorineural Tinnitus: Its Pathology and Probable Therapies. Int J Otolaryngol. 2016. 2016:2830157.

[2] Sahley TL, Nodar RH. A biochemical model of peripheral tinnitus. Hear Res. 2001 Feb. 152(1-2):43-54.

[3] Park J, White AR, Ernst E. Efficacy of acupuncture as a treatment for tinnitus: a systematic review. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2000 Apr. 126(4):489-92.

[4] Folmer RL, Carroll JR. Long-term effectiveness of ear-level devices for tinnitus. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2006 Jan. 134(1):132-137.

[5] Steenerson RL, Cronin GW. Treatment of tinnitus with electrical stimulation. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1999 Nov. 121(5):511-3.

[6] Hurtuk A, Dome C, Holloman CH, Wolfe K, Welling DB, Dodson EE. Melatonin: can it stop the ringing?. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2011 Jul. 120(7):433-40.

[7] Albu S, Chirtes F. Intratympanic dexamethasone plus melatonin versus melatonin only in the treatment of unilateral acute idiopathic tinnitus. Am J Otolaryngol. 2014 Jul 2.

 

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