What Does Tinnitus Have To Do With Hormones?
Written by Carol Petersen, RPh, CNP- Women's International Pharmacy
Tinnitus, commonly known as "ringing in the ears," is prevalent among the elderly and in women. The severity can vary from a mild annoyance to significantly disturbing.
Tinnitus may also be associated with deafness and dizziness. Most will experience a temporary tinnitus when exposed to loud sounds. Loud sounds can also induce a chronic tinnitus.
The "ringing in the ears" can actually be heard as a variety of sounds such as ringing (the word tinnitus comes from the Latin word for "ringing"), buzzing, whooshing, swishing or clicking. These sounds create a background of noise when there is no sound actually present. In his book Musicophilia, Oliver Sachs even reports cases of tinnitus of a musical nature. The American Tinnitus Association web site (http://www.ata.org/sounds-of-tinnitus) has recordings of the various sounds of tinnitus.
The onset of tinnitus in women seems to be particularly related to periods of hormone variability. It can be triggered by PMS, perimenopause, menopause and pregnancy. Menopausal symptoms such as sweating, hot flashes and mood changes may correlate with tinnitus.
Can Melatonin Reduce the Symptoms of Stress-related Tinnitus?
Written by Kathy Lynch, PharmD - Women's International Pharmacy
A study of 344 patients with tinnitus demonstrated that elevated stress hormones, as well as a break-down product of serotonin, appear to be related to tinnitus. Melatonin is thought to reduce these fight-or-flight stress hormones, while increasing blood flow and regulating inner ear immunity.
One study found that melatonin decreased the severity of tinnitus while improving sleep quality. A second study demonstrated that melatonin reduced subjective symptoms by 40%. In both studies, a 3mg dose was given daily over a 30-day period.
While there is no FDA-approved medication indicated for the treatment of tinnitus, there are several drugs in development. In the meantime, bioidentical melatonin may be worth trying to reduce tinnitus symptoms.
Methylcobalamin (MeB12) may actually assist in detoxifying inorganic mercury in the body. Related research is ongoing and we will be keeping a close eye on the results.
"Diagnostic Value and Clinical Significance of Stress Hormones in Patients with Tinnitus" by D.K. Kim, D.Y. Chung, S.C. Bae, et al; Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol; 2013 0ct 26. (epub ahead of print).
"Emerging Pharmacotherapy of Tinnitus" by B. Langguth, R. Salvi and A.Elgoyhen; Expert Opin Emerg Drugs; 2009 Dec; 14(4): 687-702.
"Drug-mediated Ototoxicity and Tinnitus: Alleviation with Melatonin" by R.J. Reiter, D.X. Tan, A. Korkmaz et al; Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology: 2011; 6(2): 151-157.