Tinnitus is a type of sound that is heard when there is no external sound is present[i]. Tinnitus is an incredibly common occurrence which experienced by most people. However, it can become prolongs and particularly bothersome for some people, and require treatment. The word tinnitus comes from the Latin ‘tinnire’, meaning to ring. Luckily there are steps you can take to address tinnitus through nutritional supplements and herbal therapies.
In some people, it interferes with concentration, and can be associated with anxiety and depression[ii].
What are the risks of developing tinnitus?
Obesity, cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, and a history of arthritis or head injury all increase your risk of tinnitus[iii].
Lifestyle advice for tinnitus:
There is no specific diet that has been proven to cure or eliminate tinnitus, but some dietary adjustments may help reduce symptoms. In general, it is advisable to:
Avoid salt: Eating a diet high in salt can lead to fluid retention, which can worsen tinnitus symptoms. To reduce your sodium intake, try to limit your intake of processed foods, canned foods, and salty snacks.
Limit caffeine and alcohol: Both caffeine and alcohol can increase blood flow to the inner ear, which can worsen tinnitus symptoms. Try reducing your intake of coffee, tea, alcohol, and other caffeinated beverages [iv][v].
Increase fruit and vegetable intake: Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats in your diet[vi].
Stay hydrated: Dehydration can worsen tinnitus symptoms, so make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day[vii].
Avoid trigger foods: Some people find that certain foods, such as those high in sugar or artificial sweeteners, can worsen tinnitus symptoms. Try to identify your trigger foods and avoid them[viii].
Try: BioSun Hopi Ear Candles (1 pair). The theory behind Hopi Ear Candles is that they create a vacuum that draws out earwax and other impurities from the ear canal, which can help alleviate tinnitus symptoms.
Try: Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate
Ginkgo biloba has been suggested as a potential treatment for tinnitus due to its ability to improve blood flow to the inner ear and reduce inflammation [xi].
Try: Viridian Ginkgo Biloba Leaf (60 caps)
Vitamin B12 has been suggested as a potential treatment for tinnitus due to its role in maintaining the health of the nerves and blood vessels in the inner ear. However, the evidence supporting the use of vitamin B12 for tinnitus is limited and mixed[xii].
Try: Viridian High Twelve B-Complex B12 - Vitamin B12
Zinc has been suggested as a potential treatment for tinnitus due to its role in maintaining the health of the auditory system and its antioxidant properties[xiii].
Try: Pure Encapsulations Zinc 15mg (60 caps)
There is some evidence to suggest that deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals may be associated with tinnitus. Studies have found that low levels of magnesium and vitamin D were associated with an increased risk of tinnitus[xiv] [xv].
Try: Pure Encapsulations O.N.E. Multivitamin (ONE Multi) (60 Caps)
Plantago (commonly known as plantain) has been traditionally used to treat tinnitus, a condition characterized by ringing or buzzing in the ears. While research on the effectiveness of plantain for tinnitus is limited, some studies have shown promising results [xvi].
Try: Plantago Tincture by A Vogel
There is growing evidence to suggest that there may be a link between gut health and tinnitus. As such, certain nutritional deficiencies may also play a role in the development or exacerbation of tinnitus. For example, some studies have found that people with tinnitus are more likely to have gut problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or celiac disease, while others have found that deficiencies in vitamins and minerals such as zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B12 may contribute to tinnitus [xvii] [xviii].
Learn more about:
[i] Levine, Robert A.; Oron, Yahav (2015). "Tinnitus". The Human Auditory System - Fundamental Organization and Clinical Disorders. Handbook of Clinical Neurology. Vol. 129. pp. 409–431.
[ii] Langguth, B; Kreuzer, PM; Kleinjung, T; De Ridder, D (September 2013). "Tinnitus: causes and clinical management". The Lancet Neurology. 12 (9): 920–930.
[iii] McCormack, A., Edmondson-Jones, M., Mellor, D., Dawes, P., Munro, K. J., Moore, D. R., & Fortnum, H. (2014). Association of dietary factors with presence and severity of tinnitus in a middle-aged UK population. PloS one, 9(12), e114711.
[iv] Langguth, B., Kreuzer, P. M., Kleinjung, T., & De Ridder, D. (2013). Tinnitus: causes and clinical management. The Lancet Neurology, 12(9), 920-930. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(13)70160-1.
[v] Breneman, J., Gagnon, L., & Sandridge, S. (2014). Effects of dietary sodium on tinnitus. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 25(2), 170-177.
[vii] Raj-Koziak, D., Skarżyński, H., & Kochanek, K. (2017). Risk factors for tinnitus in a population of 170,000 patients. International journal of audiology, 56(9), 667-671.
[viii] Gallus, S., Lugo, A., Garavello, W., Bosetti, C., Santoro, E., & Colombo, P. (2012). Prevalence and determinants of tinnitus in the Italian adult population. Neurological sciences, 33(4), 911-918. doi: 10.1007/s10072-011-0873-y.
[ix] Attias, J., et al. (2011). Oral magnesium intake reduces permanent hearing loss induced by noise exposure. American Journal of Otolaryngology, 32(5), 421-426.
[x] Koopman, J. P., et al. (2018). No effects of oral magnesium supplementation on tinnitus: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Ear and Hearing, 39(4), 722-729.
[xi] Hilton, M. P., et al. (2013). Ginkgo biloba for tinnitus. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 3, CD003852.
[xii] Moffa, A., et al. (2016). Vitamin B12 in the treatment of tinnitus: A systematic review. International Journal of Audiology, 55(11), 605-616.
[xiii] Mehrparvar, A. H., et al. (2013). Effect of zinc supplementation in the treatment of tinnitus: A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial. Otology & Neurotology, 34(6), 1101-1106.
[xiv] Shargorodsky, J., et al. (2016). Vitamin D and vitamin B12 deficiencies are common in patients with tinnitus. American Journal of Otolaryngology, 37(6), 495-497.
[xv] Schochat, E., et al. (2019). Magnesium supplementation as an adjuvant therapy for noise-induced hearing loss: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. International Journal of Audiology, 58(9), 575-582.
[xvi] Morgenstern C, Biermann E. The efficacy of Ginkgo special extract EGb 761 in patients with tinnitus. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2010;48(3):164-168.
[xvii] Langguth, B; Kreuzer, PM; Kleinjung, T; De Ridder, D (September 2013). "Tinnitus: causes and clinical management". The Lancet Neurology. 12 (9): 920–930.
[xviii] Aazh, H., & Moore, B. C. (2018). Factors related to tinnitus and hyperacusis handicap in older people. International journal of audiology, 57(2), 75-82.
Please note that the information contained within this website does not and should not replace medical advice, and is not intended to treat or diagnose. We always recommend you consult with your doctor. Our Nutritional Therapy team is highly trained and we offer one to one Nutritional Therapy Consultations, which are designed to be complementary to any medical treatment from a functional medicine approach, as well as offering a preventative & optimal health focus.