Tinnitus and melatonin

Name of treatment


Type of treatment

Dietary supplement.

Claims for treatment

Melatonin has been suggested as a treatment for tinnitus because of its effects on sleep and because of its vasoactive/antioxidant properties.

How treatment is delivered

Orally, as a tablet.

Potential negative consequences

Generally considered safe however it should not be taken by people with certain medical conditions and is not compatible with certain other medicines.[1]

Evidence offered:

Papers available

5 (as listed in the systematic review[2])

Conclusions drawn

Because of biases in the evidence base, it cannot be said whether melatonin is effective for tinnitus or not.2

Melatonin seems to improve sleep disturbance linked to tinnitus.[3]

Quality of evidence[4]


Does the BTA recommend this treatment?


Several guidelines recommend AGAINST taking this supplement.[5] [6]

BTA opinion on this treatment:

The evidence levels for melatonin supplementation treating tinnitus are low.

Melatonin should only be obtained via prescription and taken under the supervision of a medical professional.

“Dietary supplements should not be recommended to treat tinnitus, but could have a positive outcome on tinnitus reactions in some people” [3]

Would the BTA support further studies into this treatment?

Yes, if high quality

Verdict: Safety – is this treatment harmful?

  Limited potential for harm

Verdict: Efficacy – does this treatment work?

   No evidence of effect


Melatonin is only available on prescription in the UK and licensed only for treating insomnia in the over 55s.[1]

For further information

The BTA Tinnitus Support Team can answer your questions on any tinnitus related topics:

Telephone: 0800 018 0527
Web chat: – click on the icon
Email: [email protected]
Text/SMS: 07537 416841

We also offer a free tinnitus e-learning programme, Take on Tinnitus.

Download this information

This information is in PDF format.


We welcome feedback on all our information. You can pass your comments to our Communications Team:

Telephone: 0114 250 9933
Email: [email protected]
or by writing to us at the address below.


[1]  NHS. Melatonin for sleep problems. Available from https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/melatonin/ [accessed 25 July 2022]

[2] Miroddi M, Bruno R, Galletti F, Calapai F, Navarra M, Gangemi S, Calapai G. Clinical pharmacology of melatonin in the treatment of tinnitus: a review. European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 2015 Mar;71(3):263-70. doi: 10.1007/s00228-015-1805-3. Epub 2015 Jan 20.

[3] Coelho C, Tyler R, Ji H, Rojas-Roncancio E, Witt S, Tao P, Jun HJ, Wang TC, Hansen MR, Gantz BJ. Survey on the Effectiveness of Dietary Supplements to Treat Tinnitus. American Journal of Audiology, 2016: 25(3): 184-205

[4] A = Systematic review/meta analysis. B = Randomised control studies. C = Cohort studies. D = Case control studies. E = case studies/reports. +/- to be used to indicate quality within bands

[5] Coelho C, Tyler R, Ji H, Rojas-Roncancio E, Witt S, Tao P, Jun HJ, Wang TC, Hansen MR, Gantz BJ. (2016) Survey on the Effectiveness of Dietary Supplements to Treat Tinnitus. American Journal of Audiology. 25(3): 184-205

[6] Tunkel DE, Bauer CA, Sun GH, et al. Clinical Practice Guideline: Tinnitus. Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. 2014;151(2_suppl): S1-S40. doi:10.1177/0194599814545325

Author: Nic Wray

Version 2.0

Updated: 25 July 2022

To be reviewed: July 2025

Photo: Ged Carroll. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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