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Health Condition

Tinnitus

About This Condition

Rarely, tinnitus is due to an actual sound, such as blood rushing through an enlarged vein—a problem that requires medical treatment. More commonly the problem is due to nerve irritation from an unknown source or an underlying ear problem often induced by noise damage. The cause of tinnitus should be diagnosed by a doctor.

Symptoms

Symptoms may include hearing buzzing, roaring, ringing, whistling, or hissing sounds. These sounds may be intermittent, continuous, or pulsing. Tinnitus may interfere with normal activities and sleep, and there may be an associated decrease in the ability to hear conversation or other sounds in the environment.

Other Therapies

Treatment is typically directed at any underlying medical condition. In some cases, doctors recommend the use of a tinnitus masker, which is a hearing device that produces a sound that is more tolerable than the tinnitus. In addition, doctors may suggest the use of earplugs in the presence of loud noises to prevent damage to the ear.

References

1. Rosenberg SI,Silverstein H,Rowan PT, et al. Effect of melatonin on tinnitus. The Laryngoscope. 1998 Mar;108(3):305-10

2. Megwalu UC,Finnell JE,Piccirillo JF. The effects of melatonin on tinnitus and sleep. Otolaryngology--head and neck surgery : official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. 2006 Feb;134(2):210-3

3. Shambaugh GE. Zinc and presbycusis. Am J Otol 1985;6:116-7.

4. Paaske PB, Pedersen CB, Kjems G, Sam IL. Zinc in the management of tinnitus. Placebo-controlled trial. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 1991;100:647-9.

5. Ochi K, Ohashi T, Kinoshita H, et al. The serum zinc level in patients with tinnitus and the effect of zinc treatment. Nippon Jibiinkoka Gakkai Kaiho 1997;100:915-9 [in Japanese].

6. Khan M, Gross J, Haupt H, et al. A pilot clinical trial of the effects of coenzyme Q10 on chronic tinnitus aurium. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2007;136:72-7.

7. Ernst E, Stevinson C. Ginkgo biloba for tinnitus: a review. Clin Otolaryngol 1999;24:164-7.

8. Drew S, Davies E. Effectiveness of Ginkgo biloba in treating tinnitus: double blind, placebo-controlled trial. BMJ 2001;322:1-6.

9. Meyer B. A multicenter randomized double-blind study of Ginkgo biloba extract versus placebo in the treatment of tinnitus. In Rokan (Ginkgo biloba): Recent Results in Pharmacology and Clinic, ed. EW Funfgeld. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1988, 245-50.

10. Morgenstern C, Biermann E. Ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 in the treatment of tinnitus aurium: Results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Fortschr Med 1997;115:7-11.

11. Holgers K, Axelsson A, Pringle I. Ginkgo biloba extract from the treatment of tinnitus. Audiol 1994;33:85-92.

12. Cevette MJ, Barrs DM, Patel A, et al. Phase 2 study examining magnesium-dependent tinnitus. Int Tinnitus J 2011;16:168-73.

13. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenburg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum and Beaconsfield, UK: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1988, 181.

14. Ribari O, Zelen B, Kollar B. Ethyl apovincaminate in the treatment of sensorineural impairment of hearing. Arzneimittelforschung 1976;26:1977-80.

15. Shemesh Z, Attias J, Ornan M, et al. Vitamin B12 deficiency in patients with chronic tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss. Am J Otolaryngol 1993;14:94-9.

16. Furugard S, Hedin PJ, Eggertz A, Laurent C. Acupuncture worth trying in severe tinnitus. Lakartidningen 1998;95:1922-8 [in Swedish].

17. Nielsen OJ, Moller K, Jorgensen KE. The effect of traditional Chinese acupuncture on severe tinnitus. A double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study with an open therapeutic surveillance. Ugeskr Laeger 1999;161:424-9 [in Danish].

18. Vilholm OJ, Moller K, Jorgensen K. Effect of traditional Chinese acupuncture on severe tinnitus: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical investigation with open therapeutic control. Br J Audiol 1998;32:197-204.

19. Axelsson A, Andersson S, Gu LD. Acupuncture in the management of tinnitus: a placebo-controlled study. Audiology 1994;33:351-60.

20. Nilsson S, Axelsson A, Li De G. Acupuncture for tinnitus management. Laryngoscope 1988;98:664-7.

21. Thomas M, Laurell G, Lundeberg T. Acupuncture for the alleviation of tinnitus. Scand Audiol 1992;21:245-51.

22. Marks NJ, Emery P, Onisiphorou C. A controlled trial of acupuncture in tinnitus. J Laryngol Otol 1984;98:1103-9.

23. Hansen PE, Hansen JH, Bentzen O. Acupuncture treatment of chronic unilateral tinnitus—a double-blind cross-over trial. Clin Otolaryngol 1982;7:325-9.

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

25. Spencer JT Jr. Hyperlipoproteinemia, hyperinsulinism, and Meniere's disease. South Med J 1981;74:1194-7,1200.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.

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