Without a doubt, suffering from tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, can have detrimental effects on one's quality of life. Estimated to affect up to 20% of the population, tinnitus can have a wide array of causes, and it is often accompanied by varying degrees of hearing loss, which is usually treated with hearing aids.1
Ginkgo biloba, or just ginkgo, is one of the oldest known tree species on Earth, dating back 270 million years, and it is a valued herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Its therapeutic properties, including treatment of dementia and memory loss, have been credited to its richness in flavonoids and terpenoids.2 However, clinical trials produced conflicting results as to the extent of its effects.
This study aimed to investigate the effects of Ginkgo biloba on tinnitus patients with hearing loss, with and without the use of hearing aids.
This randomized, double-blind clinical trial was conducted at an audiological center in Rondonópolis, Brazil.
Researchers recruited 33 adults who were then assigned to three groups: the first group received 240 mg of Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) per day orally; the second group was given hearing aids; and the third group received both G. biloba extract and hearing aids. The trial lasted for 90 days.
The EGb 761 contained 24% of flavonoid glycosides, 6% of terpenoids trilactones, and 5-10% of organic acids.
The Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) questionnaires were given to all participants to evaluate loudness and severity of self-perceived tinnitus symptoms before and after the treatment.
Researchers observed a significant improvement in self-perception of tinnitus loudness and severity over the span of 90 days in all three groups.
It was also found that the hearing aids were more effective in patients whose hearing loss was shorter in duration as opposed to those who have had it more long-term.
EGb 761, on the other hand, was shown to be equally effective regardless of the duration of the hearing loss.
What Does this Mean?
The results of the study demonstrated potential benefits of using ginkgo for hearing loss related to tinnitus, either instead or alongside standard treatment with hearing aids.
These results promise patients with tinnitus and hearing loss an herbal treatment that would prevent them from relying on hearing devices, which involve higher costs, maintenance, and psychological factors associated with their usage.
More scientific studies are necessary to corroborate these findings and further understand ginkgo's effects on tinnitus treatment.
- Brazilian Journal of Otorhinolaryngology, Clinical randomized trial study of hearing aids effectiveness in association with Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) on tinnitus improvement, 2019
- Mayo Clinic. (2019). Tinnitus. Retrieved December 4, 2019 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tinnitus/symptoms-causes/syc-20350156
- Mayo Clinic. (2017). Ginkgo. Retrieved December 4, 2019 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-ginkgo/art-20362032