The allure of taking a pill to cure tinnitus is powerful. There are a number of products sold without a prescription that claim to cure tinnitus. Do these herbal supplements really work as well as they claim? Can you take a pill and get rid of tinnitus for good? Or are there other true and tried methods of finding relief from tinnitus? Let’s find out.

Regulating dietary supplement claims

First, let’s debunk some of the herbal supplement myths that claim to get rid of tinnitus. The advertisements and packaging say they will reduce or clear tinnitus for good. They say the ingredients are completely safe. The manufacturers couldn’t make these claims if they weren’t true, right? Wrong! 

Dietary supplements are regulated under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). This law makes the supplement manufacturers responsible for ensuring the safety of their products before they go to market. The FDA is only responsible for acting after consumer complaints are filed.

No proof of the claim is necessary. You can literally put any ingredients in the bottle, claim it cures tinnitus, label with a disclaimer and you will comply with the law.

The results

Are there studies indicating the efficacy of herbal supplements for tinnitus? Yes, unfortunately they are either performed by the manufacturer or they do not meet scientific standards for accurate testing.  That makes them unreliable and irrelevant.

True scientific testing is carefully controlled. It is double-blind and placebo-controlled. That means a placebo (sugar pill) is given to some participants and no one associated with the study knows who is getting the test substance and who is getting the placebo. 

In fact, in 2001, researchers Drew and Davies conducted a well-designed, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial using Ginkgo biloba to treat tinnitus. They found 34 of 360 participants taking Ginkgo biloba reported a decrease in tinnitus after 12 weeks. While that may sound promising, they also found that 35 of 360 participants taking the placebo reported the same improvement.

So, if you try dietary supplements and get relief, it is probably the placebo effect and not the ingredients in the bottle.

Proven tinnitus treatment options

There are a number of proven tinnitus treatment options, from noise-masking devices to hearing aids. These treatments usually provide relief by masking or covering the sensations caused by tinnitus.

If you have tinnitus and are looking for relief, start with an appointment with an audiologist.  Your local audiologist is specially trained to treat tinnitus. Tinnitus is a symptom and they can help you get to the underlying cause. After a complete examination, proven methods of treating tinnitus will be discussed.