Tinnitus and zinc | British Tinnitus Association

Name of treatment


Type of treatment Dietary supplement
Claims for treatment

Zinc may modulate glutaminergic receptors in the central auditory pathway, resulting in a suppression of tinnitus.

How treatment is delivered Orally
Potential negative consequences

Mild gastric complaints [1]

Evidence offered:

Papers available 3 (as listed in the Cochrane review [2]
Conclusions drawn Although no severe adverse effects were observed, there is no evidence that zinc may reduce tinnitus distress or loudness.[2]
Quality of evidence [3]


Does the BTA recommend this treatment? No
BTA opinion on this treatment

The evidence levels for zinc supplementation treating tinnitus are low.

“Dietary supplements should not be recommended to treat tinnitus but could have a positive outcome on tinnitus reactions in some people”[4]

Would the BTA support further studies into this treatment? Yes, if a high-quality study
Verdict: Safety – is this treatment harmful?


Regarded as safe

Verdict: Efficacy – does this treatment work?


No evidence of an effect

[1] https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-982/zinc (last accessed 13 March 2019)

[2] Person OC, Puga MES, da Silva EMK, Torloni MR. Zinc supplements for tinnitus. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD009832. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009832.pub2.

[3] 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

[4] 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

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Updated 15 April 2019

Information currently under review April 2022

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