Ginkgo Supplements May Be Useful in Treating Hearing Loss and Tinnitis

Source: VERIS Research Information Service

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BACKGROUND: Sudden deafness is defined as a rapid and acute loss of hearing and is considered the most common acute functional disorder of the inner ear. Sudden deafness is often accompanied by tinnitis, a ringing in the ears. People have often used the herb Ginkgo biloba (a natural antioxidant and vasodilator) to treat tinnitis. However, clinical studies have not shown consistent benefits in tinnitis.

RESEARCH: Researchers treated 72 men and women with "sudden deafness;" almost half of the patients were suffering from tinnitis. They were given either 200 mg of a ginkgo extract or the drug pentoxifylline daily for ten days. Pentoxifylline is used to treat peripheral artery disease, and sudden hearing loss is believed to be the result of circulatory problems in the ear.

RESULTS: Both Ginkgo and pentoxifylline resulted in similar, substantial restoration of hearing during the ten-day treatment regimens. Overall, hearing improved by about one-third in both groups during this time. In addition, more than one-third of the patients reported that their tinnitis had ceased. The patients' own subjective assessments indicated that Ginkgo was slightly better.

IMPLICATIONS: This clinical study demonstrates that Ginkgo supplements are as effective as a common drug treatment for sudden deafness and tinnitis.

Reisser C, Weidauer H. "Ginkgo biloba extract EGb761 (R) or pentoxifylline for the treatment of sudden deafness: a randomized, reference-controlled, double-blind study," Acta Otolaryngologica. 2001;121:579-584.

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