Tinnitus: Melatonin could help

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Lets face it; most teens are blissfully unencumbered by concerns of developing Alzheimer’s disease or coping with an enlarged prostate or managing hot flashes. Nor should they be. You’re only young once. No need to curb the carefree qualities of youth before it’s necessary. But according to a recent survey, many teens may already be experiencing some conditions that are usually associated with advanced years: tinnitus and hearing loss.

In a survey conducted on behalf of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 1,000 adults and about 300 high school students were asked questions about their hearing and the ways they listen to music. Results show that students generally use headphones attached to portable devices such as MP3 players or iPods, and they play their music at higher volumes than adults do. No surprise there, really.

Here’s the surprise: Tinnitus (persistent ringing in the ears) is usually associated with ageing. But in this survey, 17 percent of the students said they suffered from ringing in the ears, while only 12 percent of the adults reported the same.

Someday, these teens will begin looking for tinnitus relief. And perhaps they’ll find it with melatonin supplements.

Machines & music

Blame it on the fragility of microscopic hairs.

Each auditory cell of the inner ear is covered with tiny hairs. Sound waves put pressure on the hairs, prompting an electrical charge that travels from the cell to the auditory nerve and on to the brain where sound is registered.

Problems start when the hairs become damaged by exposure to repetitive, loud noises, such as machinery or music played at high volume. The damaged hairs move erratically, upsetting the electrical charge of the auditory cells, triggering random electrical impulses that create a steady stream of noise or ringing.

The hairs can also be damaged by certain medications, injury to the head or neck, tumors in the head or neck and narrowing of blood vessels. But ageing and prolonged exposure to noise are the two most common causes.

Maintaining rhythm

Previously, we’ve  told you how the hormone melatonin helps regulate the sleep/wake circadian rhythm. But natural melatonin production in the brains pineal gland decreases as we age. For some, this upsets the circadian rhythm and prompts sleep disorders that can sometimes be corrected with melatonin supplements. Now new research shows that melatonin may relieve tinnitus as well.

In a small trial conducted at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, US researchers recruited 18 subjects who had tinnitus for more than a decade. All of the patients were about 60 years old.

Over four weeks, each subject took 3 mg of melatonin daily. Researchers monitored subjects throughout the testing period and for an additional four weeks after they stopped taking the supplement. Based on assessments provided by the subjects, tinnitus symptoms were reduced and sleep patterns improved over the entire eight-week period. Patients who reported the most pronounced sleep problems at the beginning of the study tended to report the greatest relief in tinnitus symptoms.

World-renowned alternative health expert Dr. Allan Spreen, recommends that melatonin supplements should only be taken at bedtime. He recommends 1.5 mg for ages 40 to 50, and (as in the study) 3 mg for those over 50. He adds that people under the age of 40 should avoid melatonin supplements so as not to overload the body with the hormone. So for at least a couple of decades, tinnitus teens will have to find another way to cope with ringing in the ears.


Disclaimer: This article is part of the Daily Health's extensive research archive. The research and information contained in this article was accurate at the the time of publication but may have been updated since the date of publication. Consult our most recent articles for the latest research on alternative health and natural breakthroughs.

Bear in mind the material provided in this content is for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
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  • Nick and Dillon – some people have had success using the homeopathic remedies Nat Mur and Mag Phos (Hyland is one brand), available at Super Supplements and most other health food stores. Nice thing is – if doesn’t help, also doesn’t harm. Gradual awareness of quiet will tell you if it helped. Hope it works for you.

  • I hope more treatments become available, because I also have been dealing with Tinnitus since a “friend” set off a fire cracker in my ear more than 2 weeks ago. I’m 20 years old, and I doubt it’ll get much better. I’ve yet to see a doctor but from all the reading I’ve done it doesn’t seem like anything can be done.

  • Hi I got tinnitus at a party in august last year, I am 15 years old and I can only really hear the ringing with no external noise. Will it ever go away?

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