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Am J Audiol. 2016 Sep 1;25(3):184-205. doi: 10.1044/2016_AJA-16-0021.

Survey on the Effectiveness of Dietary Supplements to Treat Tinnitus.

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University of Iowa, Iowa City.



We surveyed the benefit of dietary supplements to treat tinnitus and reported adverse effects.


A website was created for people with tinnitus to complete a variety of questions.


The 1,788 subjects who responded to questionnaires came from 53 different countries; 413 (23.1%) reported taking supplements. No effect on tinnitus was reported in 70.7%, improvement in 19.0%, and worsening in 10.3%. Adverse effects were reported in 6% (n = 36), including bleeding, diarrhea, headache, and others. Supplements were reported to be helpful for sleep: melatonin (effect size, d = 1.228) and lipoflavonoid (d = 0.5244); emotional reactions: melatonin (d = 0.6138) and lipoflavonoid (d = 0.457); hearing: Ginkgo biloba (d = 0.3758); and concentration Ginkgo biloba (d = 0.3611). The positive, subjective reports should be interpreted cautiously; many might have reported a positive effect because they were committed to treatment and expected a benefit. Users of supplements were more likely to have loudness hyperacusis and to have a louder tinnitus.


The use of dietary supplements to treat tinnitus is common, particularly with Ginkgo biloba, lipoflavonoids, magnesium, melatonin, vitamin B12, and zinc. It is likely that some supplements will help with sleep for some patients. However, they are generally not effective, and many produced adverse effects. We concluded that dietary supplements should not be recommended to treat tinnitus but could have a positive outcome on tinnitus reactions in some people.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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