Are you experiencing tinnitus? Are you hearing sounds that no one else seems to hear? You may be experiencing tinnitus, a condition where you perceive sound while there is no audible sound eternally made. The commonest form of tinnitus is the steady high-pitched ringing while others may also hear sounds like clicking, buzzing, humming, roaring, whooshing, and more. The volume of tinnitus can fluctuate and can be continuous, pulsatile, or intermittent. Tinnitus usually occurs after there is exposure to loud noises such as attending concerts, clubs, being present near a gun being fired, and more. There are many causes of tinnitus since it is a symptom instead of a disorder itself. Some of the causes of tinnitus include:
- Ingestion of ototoxic drugs
- Temporomandibular joint disorders
- Head and neck injuries
- Thyroid issues
- And more.
If you are new to tinnitus, it is best to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to ensure that there is no serious underlying cause. Once that has been ruled out, you can start looking at treatment options. Due to the many potential causes of tinnitus, there is also no one cure for tinnitus. However, there are many treatment options that are available that may or may not work for you as success rates differ from person to person. Many who suffer from tinnitus have adapted to their symptoms and are able to continue with their daily lives and routines while a small portion find their symptoms to be debilitating and severe to the point where their lives are disrupted Some of the treatment options include:
- Counseling – Many patients find that the reassurance they receive can significantly improve their symptoms of tinnitus.
- Support group – Patients who join a support group are able to share their experiences and learn from others who also suffer from tinnitus. This helps them to not feel alone and having a support group to fall back on can be very helpful.
- Masking devices – These devices work just like hearing aids but lays a low level white noise that helps mask the sounds of tinnitus making it a little bit more bearable.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy – This is a therapy session conducted by professionals to help patients find ways to cope with their symptoms better. Although patients do not find that their tinnitus have lessened, they have claimed that their quality of life has improved.
- Others – There are also other methods such as acupuncture or herbal supplements that many have claimed to help their tinnitus albeit only transiently.
Some tinnitus patients may also experience insomnia, anxiety, depression, irritability, poor focus and poor performance at school or work.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a natural hormone found in the body that is manufactured by the pineal gland. It can also be synthesized in a laboratory and made into pill forms. It is used to regulate sleep and wakefulness and can be used in the treatment of insomnia. In some countries, it is easily available over the counter as a sleep aid. It is mainly used to regulate the night and day cycles of the body. In darkness, the body produces more melatonin signaling the body to prepare for sleep. Light decreases the production of melatonin causing the body to be awake. Those with difficulty sleeping tend to have lower levels of melatonin.
Can Melatonin Help Tinnitus
There have been multiple studies that researched the potential of melatonin in the improvement of tinnitus. Some of the published studies are as follows:
Melatonin: can it stop the ringing?
A study published on PubMed recruited adults with chronic tinnitus where the participants were either given 3mg of Melatonin or placebo every night for a duration of 30 days. After completion, there was a wash-out (break) period of 30 days. These groups were then crossed over where they were given the opposite of what they first received (those receiving melatonin are given placebo while those who were given placebo are now given melatonin). A total of 61 participants completed the study. The researchers were able to conclude that melatonin is associated with a statistically significant decrease in the intensity of tinnitus along with improved sleep quality in patients with chronic tinnitus. It was also found to be the most effective in the male gender, those who have had no previous tinnitus treatments, those with bilateral and severe tinnitus, and also those with had a history of loud noise exposure.
The effects of melatonin on tinnitus and sleep
Another study recruited 24 patients with tinnitus where participants took 3mg of melatonin daily for a duration of 4 weeks with an additional 4 weeks of observation. The research team were able to conclude that melatonin use has been associated with the improvement of tinnitus and sleep. They also found that melatonin was most beneficial in patients who had the worst sleep quality.
Effect of melatonin on tinnitus
In this study by Ear Research Institute, participants were given 3mg of melatonin taken for a duration of 30 days followed by a 7-day wash-out period break) and subsequently placebo for another 30 days. The outcomes of patients were measured using the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI), questionnaire, and interview. In this study, it was concluded that melatonin is useful in the treatment of tinnitus where patients who are most severely affected have the most benefit from melatonin. They have recommended that melatonin be used as one of the main treatment options for tinnitus.
Conclusion Melatonin And It’s Impact On Tinnitus
There are still many available literatures out there that also supports the benefits and effectiveness of melatonin for the improvement of tinnitus. Although there are some who are concerned regarding the side effects of melatonin, in medical literature, adverse events found for melatonin are rare and infrequently reported when compared to the number of consumers who use melatonin. The commonest side effects of melatonin include headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, mild skin reactions, gastrointestinal complaints such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, all of which are of the non-serious nature.