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What is tinnitus, what are the causes and treatment? Can alternative methods such as CBD, homeopathy and herbs help?

What is tinnitus?

Tinnitus is a condition (sensation) in which people hear ringing, humming, clicking, hissing, buzzing, or other sounds unilaterally or bilaterally, that is, in one ear, both ears, or in the head, and which is not caused by an external source. There are different degrees of sound ranging from faint to critical. It may be temporary or continuous and may vary in volume and pitch.

Tinnitus is closely related to problems such as impaired memory, concentration and fatigue, which greatly affect the overall health of the individual. Tinnitus is more common in the elderly but can occur at any age.


Tinnitus can be triggered by a number of causes. In itself, it is not a disease, but a symptom.

Causes that can trigger it:

  • Aging
  • noise-induced hearing loss
  • stress
  • earwax blockage in the ear canal
  • blood pressure fluctuations
  • head and/or neck injuries
  • poor jaw position
  • difficulties with the cervical spine
  • Atherosclerosis
  • some medicines

It can be a symptom of certain diseases, such as:

  • ear infections
  • sinus infections
  • Meniere's disease
  • neurological diseases
  • thyroid disorder
  • Diabetes
  • metabolic diseases
  • psychiatric problems (depression, anxiety)
  • damage to the nerve endings of the inner ear or middle ear bones
  • cancer


Before starting treatment, it is most important to determine the cause of tinnitus. The treatment itself then consists of treating the above mentioned diseases that cause tinnitus. Unfortunately, however, there are more often cases where the cause is not detected.

To relieve symptoms, substances that promote vascular blood flow, such as vasodilators, ginkgo biloba, as well as vitamins and sedatives, are used. The doctor may recommend removing excess earwax and discontinuing medications that may be causing the tinnitus. Certain medications, such as tricyclic antidepressants, can help dampen tinnitus.

It is also recommended that the patient avoid loud stimuli, caffeine, nicotine and salt.

In some cases, tinnitus can cause serious psychological problems, which is why a consultation with a psychologist is needed.

Sometimes small devices called tinnitus maskers are also used, which generate white noise to suppress the murmur. These tinnitus maskers emit specially tuned sounds that cover or remove the perceived sound.

Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRP) is also recommended, in which patients learn how to consciously ignore disturbing sounds. The method combines counselling and sound therapy, with the aim of getting the brain to learn to ignore the tone in the ear. It takes 12-18 months before a patient learns the habit using this therapy, as a 2020 study pointed out. Usually, the first improvement appears after 3 months.


Žena a zvukové vlny - léčba Tinnitus retraining therapy

How can CBD contribute?

As far as the effect of cannabis (marijuana) on tinnitus is concerned, research results are currently conflicting. An analysis in 2020 suggested that marijuana use was associated with an increased incidence of the condition, but more recent research has shown that most people with the condition report that it relieves their symptoms.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is legal compared to marijuana and is extracted by one of the extraction methods from industrial hemp. It does not have a psychoactive effect on the body and its popularity continues to flourish due to its potential therapeutic benefits. CBD can help relieve pain and inflammation, promote mental well-being, relieve skin problems and help with sleep problems.

When the mind focuses on the murmur, it causes anxiety in some patients. CBD can alleviate anxiety, thus helping to manage tinnitus. Cannabidiol may also help with stress, which is common in people with chronic tinnitus, and with sleep problems.

One study published in 2015 suggests that CBD is beneficial in reducing anxiety-related behaviors in disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, seasonal affective disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

CBD also helps to relieve pain symptoms, as suggested by a study entitled: Cannabidiol for pain: focus on pharmacology and mechanism of action. It seems that CBD could be useful, for example, for difficulties caused by an ear injury or ear inflammation that tinnitus can cause.

Some animal studies suggest that CBD and other cannabis products may have a neutral effect on tinnitus, while other studies suggest that CBD consumption may worsen the situation in some patients. For example, a 2015 study in which researchers administered CBD to rats suggested that it did not help, and in some rats it even seemed to make tinnitus worse.

At the moment, there is a lack of human studies to support the use of CBD as a treatment for tinnitus, as highlighted by a 2020 review which stated that clinical trials are needed to draw any conclusions.

How can homeopathy and vitamins help?

Although homeopathy cannot cure tinnitus, it can help alleviate symptoms in some people. It is a healing method that is classified as an alternative natural treatment. The method uses plant, mineral or animal substances in high dilution, called potentized substances.

Probably homeopathy is based on about ten principles. These include:

  • Similarity theory: diseases can be treated with substances that cause similar symptoms.
  • Potentisation, dynamisation: apart from strong dilution, dynamisation should increase the effectiveness of the preparations, which is regular shaking during dilution.
  • The less is more principle: The less of a drug that is used, the greater its potential effect.

Homeopathic medicines are freely available and are sold in two varieties, namely single-component (monocomponent) or multi-component (polycomponent).

An earlier study from 1998 suggested that the homeopathic remedy "Tinnitus" was preferred by 14 of 28 participants over placebo, but the researchers concluded that the remedy was no more effective than the corresponding placebo.

When it comes to vitamins, the results of the studies are slightly more positive. Preliminary research suggests that supplementing with vitamins and minerals such as zinc, magnesium, vitamin D and B12 could improve tinnitus symptoms in patients.

Also, a small pilot study in 2016 suggested that vitamin B12 supplementation may improve tinnitus in people who are deficient.

Which herbs look promising?

In 2022, a study entitled: Herbal medicines in the treatment of tinnitus: an updated review was published, which suggested that there is currently a lack of available evidence on how helpful herbal medicines are for tinnitus.

One small study from 2023 pointed out that when ginkgo biloba is combined with antioxidants, it helps improve symptoms of the condition.

However, according to a 2013 review, there is no confirmation that ginkgo biloba is useful for the primary treatment of tinnitus. A new review in 2022 suggested that the results were inconclusive and that most studies were too poor quality or insufficient to determine the results.

Researchers have also investigated Korean red ginseng because they believe it may have ear-protecting properties, and this could help protect against noise-induced hearing loss and damage to the cochlear system.

Research from 2015 reported that Korean red ginseng can improve tinnitus symptoms and mental well-being in patients with the chronic condition.


Listy jinanu dvoulaločného. Společně s antioxidanty pomáhají při tinitu


Tinnitus can be a bothersome condition for many. Unfortunately, there is as yet no cure or set of cures that will eliminate the symptoms. For this reason, treatment focuses on getting patients used to the condition and bothering them as little as possible.

It is also generally agreed that homeopathy is not effective in the treatment of tinnitus. Although tinnitus cannot be cured, there are treatments that can address the mental health impact and alleviate symptoms.

CBD could help relieve some symptoms such as anxiety, stress, pain and sleep problems, but there are currently no clinical trials investigating the use of CBD as a possible cure for tinnitus.

Further research is needed to assess the efficacy and safety of herbs and herbal supplements for the treatment of this condition, as there is currently no clinically relevant evidence.

Acupuncture, yoga and meditation or mindfulness may work for some. Lifestyle changes such as cutting down on alcohol, avoiding smoking, maintaining healthy blood pressure, minimising stress and avoiding loud sensations can also help to manage symptoms.


Author: Canatura



Photo: Shutterstock

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