If you have tinnitus, you know how debilitating it can be. In severe cases, it can disturb both your waking hours and your sleep. It may even cause or contribute to depression and anxiety.
While sometimes treating an underlying cause of tinnitus may get rid of tinnitus symptoms, in many cases, there is no cure. However, there is some research to support the idea that taking turmeric might help alleviate tinnitus symptoms.
What Is Tinnitus?
Tinnitus is sometimes referred to as “a ringing in the ears,” but that description may be misleading. Simply stated, tinnitus is a perception of sound when no external sound is present.
Tinnitus is not a disease, but rather a symptom that may be caused by many things. Some of the most common causes of tinnitus symptoms include:
- Age-related hearing loss
- Traumatic hearing loss
- Trauma to the ear
- Circulatory issues
- Brain trauma
Anybody who experiences tinnitus symptoms must be examined by a doctor to determine the cause of the tinnitus. While the sound that tinnitus sufferers hear is most commonly described as a ringing, it may also be any of the following:
People who have tinnitus caused by circulatory issues may hear a whooshing sound like ocean waves. It’s caused by a heightened awareness of blood flow in the ears.
How Can Taking Turmeric Help People Who Have Tinnitus?
There have been many studies that have examined the health benefits of turmeric, but none that have looked at tinnitus. However, we can extrapolate some benefits for tinnitus sufferers by reading between the lines.
There are five ways that people who have tinnitus may benefit from turmeric supplementation. Here they are.
#1: Turmeric is a Powerful Anti-Inflammatory
One of turmeric’s best-known qualities is its ability to combat inflammation. In fact, turmeric and curcumin supplementation can be useful for people with inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
Some people who have tinnitus symptoms also have inflammation of the ears. One study looked at the effects of turmeric on edema (swelling) of the ears and found that mice who were given curcuminoids like turmeric experienced a reduction in swelling.
Another study found that curcumin supplementation was beneficial in mice that had systemic inflammation as well.
The takeaway here is that regular turmeric supplementation has been shown to reduce inflammation and may help reduce tinnitus symptoms caused by inflammation of the ears.
#2: Turmeric May Reduce Drug-Induced Ear Toxicity
Some people who have tinnitus experience it as a reaction to certain prescription medications, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and chemotherapy drugs. There is some evidence to suggest that turmeric supplementation may alleviate that reaction.
One study looked specifically at inner ear damage in rats caused by the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel. It found that supplementing the rats with curcumin helped to protect the inner ear, including the delicate cochlea, from damage caused by the drug.
In another study, researchers found similar effects when they gave curcumin to guinea pigs treated with cisplatin, which is also a chemotherapy drug.
More study is needed, but there is certainly reason to be hopeful that turmeric supplementation might help protect us from tinnitus caused by drug-induced ear toxicity.
#3: Turmeric’s Antioxidant Properties May Protect the Ears from Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is a kind of damage that can affect any part of the body, including the ears. When a healthy balance is present, antioxidative and oxidative components in the body cancel one another out. However, stress and illness may cause oxidative damage to rage out of control.
In particular, there is evidence to suggest that oxidative stress may cause or contribute to tinnitus. That being the case, it makes sense that the antioxidant properties of turmeric might help to combat it.
One study looked at the effects of the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E on noise-induced hearing loss, and found that the doses of these vitamins helped protect the ears from further hearing loss. Even more promising, another study examined patients with tinnitus and found that taking antioxidants like turmeric helped reduce their symptoms.
What we can learn from this is that oxidative stress may be a contributing factor in some cases of tinnitus and that taking antioxidant supplements like turmeric may reduce tinnitus symptoms and protect the ears.
#4: Turmeric Protects the Brain from Damage
The next reason to take turmeric for tinnitus is a powerful one. The human sense of hearing is a complex process that begins in the outer ear and ends in the auditory cortex of the brain. For that reason, protecting the brain is essential.
One study we reviewed showed that there’s a link between neurodegeneration, such as that caused by Alzheimer’s disease, and tinnitus. Another study looked specifically at the effects of curcumin supplementation on the brain and found that it had protective effects that were beneficial and helped shield patients from neurodegenerative diseases.
The effects of curcumin intake on Alzheimer’s disease have been well-documented, so the takeaway here is that adding a turmeric supplement to your daily health regimen can protect your brain – and that may help reduce tinnitus symptoms, too.
#5: Turmeric Supplementation May Shield Against Depression
While there is no cure for most cases of tinnitus, sometimes taking prescription drugs can help alleviate the symptoms – or at least, reduce the anxiety caused by tinnitus. The most commonly-prescribed drugs are antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.
Interestingly, one study found that turmeric supplementation helped reduce anxiety in mice who were put in restraints. Likewise, a study with human volunteers found that over time, curcumin supplementation reduced the symptoms of depression and anxiety when compared with a placebo.
Since there is a clear link between tinnitus and depression, it’s encouraging to know that turmeric supplementation may help with both conditions.
The benefits of taking a turmeric supplement have been touted for years. While more study is certainly needed to confirm that taking turmeric can help reduce the symptoms of tinnitus, there is certainly reason to be optimistic.
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