Zinc Deficiency And Tinnitus
Please note: the following information does not constitute professional medical advice, and is provided for general informational purposes only. Please speak to your doctor if you have tinnitus.
According to statistics, the hearing disorder known as tinnitus affects approximately 17 percent of the population. The condition is also a complaint in 33 percent of older adults. Tinnitus occurs for different reasons, and various alternative treatment measures have been recommended. In recent years, researchers have noticed a correlation between zinc deficiency and tinnitus.
The element is found in cells throughout the body and is known to play an important role in metabolism. Sufficient levels of zinc are necessary in order for the immune system to function properly. The mineral is also responsible for proper nerve function. A deficiency may cause behavioral changes and cognitive impairment. Low levels also cause a disruption of communication between nerve cells. Thus, scientists theorized that a connection exists between zinc deficiency and tinnitus.
A group of researchers performed a study at the St. Mariana University Tokyo Hospital involving 73 volunteers aged 20 to 59. All received blood tests to determine zinc levels. Their hearing ability was also tested along with complaints of tinnitus. The scientists found that the subjects had normal hearing but suffered from tinnitus. Many also had subnormal zinc levels. The individuals were separated into two groups. One group received daily doses of zinc. The other group received a placebo. At the end of the study, the group taking daily zinc reported that their tinnitus diminished.
Another study was conducted by researchers at the Ear, Nose, Throat, Head and Neck Surgery Department at the Ankara Human Research and Education Hospital in Turkey. The trial involved adults aged 51 to 55. All complained of suffering from tinnitus. Zinc levels and hearing ability were tested along with the degree and type of tinnitus that the volunteers experienced. The scientists found that zinc levels were below normal in 31 percent of the subjects. For a period of two months, half of the subjects received 50 milligrams of zinc each day while the control group received a placebo. At the end of the trial, 82 percent of the study participants reported that the severity of their tinnitus was reduced. More than 46 percent reported having significant improvement.
More Studies Needed
Additional studies performed in Turkey demonstrated similar results. Whether test subjects had normal or below normal levels of zinc, daily doses of the mineral seemed to improve their condition. However, the scientists advised that more research concerning zinc deficiency and tinnitus is necessary. At this time the long-term benefits are unknown. It is also not known if all cases of tinnitus might benefit from zinc supplements.