Quick Answer: Can Turmeric Help in Tinnitus
Yes, turmeric may help in Tinnitus. Turmeric may reduce inflammation associated with tinnitus. Its antioxidant properties may aid in improving tinnitus. In addition, it may alleviate brain damage occurring in tinnitus, reduce drug-induced ear toxicity, and reduce the side effects associated. More studies are warranted in the future to understand the possible role of turmeric in tinnitus.
Tinnitus is a condition in which one perceives a sound in the absence of external actual sound. Rather than being a disease, it is a predictor of underlying condition.
A population-based study of hearing loss in adults aged 48 to 92 years found that tinnitus had a prevalence of 8.2% at baseline and an incidence of 5.7% during a 5-year follow-up.
There are two types of tinnitus:
• Objective: where apart from the patient, the observer can also hear the sound
• Subjective: only the patient can hear the sound
The sounds are similar to that of crickets, winds, falling tap water, grinding steel, escaping steam, running engines etc.
Treatments include pharmacotherapy (anticonvulsants, steroids), cognitive behavioural therapy, sound therapy, massage, and stretching, hearing aids etc.
This article goes over how turmeric can help with tinnitus.
Table of Contents
- Quick Answer: Can Turmeric Help in Tinnitus
- 5 Benefits Of Turmeric In Tinnitus
- 1. Turmeric is a potent, natural anti-inflammatory agent
- 2. Turmeric can alleviate oxidative stress in the ear
- 3. It can help manage depression
- 4. It can help alleviate anxiety and irritability
- 5. Turmeric protects from drug-induced toxicity
- 6. Turmeric can alleviate central nervous system damage in tinnitus
- 7. It could help in managing fatigue and stress-induced by lack of sleep in tinnitus
- 8. Turmeric could help manage atherosclerosis
- Turmeric Dosage for Tinnitus & How to Take?
- Can Turmeric and Ginger Help with Tinnitus?
- In the end..
5 Benefits Of Turmeric In Tinnitus
Turmeric has been demonstrated by studies to hamper the different aspects and steps in the pathogenesis of tinnitus; there aren’t necessarily studies directly done on the benefits of turmeric in tinnitus, though.
For instance, turmeric might help by alleviating inflammation, free radical damage, and exerting a potent anti-microbial effect in getting rid of ear infections.
1. Turmeric is a potent, natural anti-inflammatory agent
One of the fundamental processes involved in the development of tinnitus is inflammation, which initially serves as a protective response from harmful external stimuli, but in the long run, initiated disease.
One of the most powerful properties of turmeric – especially its primary bioactive component, Curcumin is its anti-inflammatory property.
The ability of turmeric compounds to inhibit inflammatory pathways in the body has found to be at par with that of conventional steroidal mediations as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).  
Turmeric elicits its effect on inflammation in several ways – it downregulates the production and genetic expression of factors and enzymes involved in the production of inflammatory response such as nuclear factor kappaB and Cycloxygenase-2, respectively.
The generation of other pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines such as Interleukin-6 and Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha is also hampered by turmeric.
In this manner, turmeric combats inflammation in a multi-directional approach. 
In a study investigating the effect of Curcumin on otitis media – which is the inflammation of the middle ear, found that Curcumin significantly reduced inflammation as well as regular antibiotics and sclerosis, to an even better extent with no reported adverse effects.
What it means: Turmeric being a strong inhibitor of inflammation, can reduce swelling of the ear and can, therefore, be used as an adjunct agent and a safer, effective alternative in case of antibiotic resistance in the management of tinnitus.
2. Turmeric can alleviate oxidative stress in the ear
Tinnitus is an idiopathic condition (which means that it has no known cause as such), several research studies and reviews have delved into the mechanisms as to what might be the causative factors of this condition.
From the findings of such papers, the etiologic agents seem to be hearing impairment secondary to exposure to loud noise and aging for the most part.
Other studies have confirmed this mechanism and also suggested the role of free radical damage to be fundamental in the pathogenesis of tinnitus, as in one clinical trial wherein subjecting patients to anti-oxidant therapy, was associated with a decline in free radicals and an improvement in the condition of tinnitus.    
Free radicals are generated as byproducts of metabolic reactions in the body and are generally neutralized by the innate anti-oxidant defenses acutely.
When produced in excess, these damage cellular lipids, proteins, DNA, and upregulate apoptotic pathways of cells resulting in decreased functionality of the organ.
It has been reported in the literature that free radical levels in the cochlea – inner ear increase by 4 folds upon exposure to noise as early as within 1-2 hours and persists for a long time thereafter – this is evidenced by the death of hair cells in the ear for a period of up to 14 days after exposure. 
The mighty anti-oxidant property of Curcumin is well-known.
What it means: Turmeric being a strong anti-oxidant, can be utilized to arrest the progression and also be a part of the treatment of tinnitus as it is a disorder that is developed as a result of free radical damage secondary to noise exposure and aging.
3. It can help manage depression
The bothersome nature of tinnitus makes depression a common incidence in individuals with tinnitus. The condition can be presented as a range of physical and behavioral changes.
These can include alterations in sleep, appetite, self-esteem, concentration, and behavior.
These are treated with medications classed under anti-depressants such as amitriptyline, fluoxetine, etc. to name a few.
These drugs, too, are associated with a rebound phenomenon post-withdrawal and a whole lot of adverse effects.
Curcumin has been implicated in the management of depression in several research papers.
It is hypothesized to act by inhibiting the monoamine oxidase enzyme involved in the degradation of norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine and modulating the release of serotonin and dopamine.
Moreover, studies have shown that Curcumin enhances neurogenesis, especially in the frontal cortex, hippocampal regions of the brain, which are responsible for concentration and cognition.
In a meta-analysis published in the Journal of American Medical Directors Association, encompassing the findings of 6 clinical trials with 377 subjects revealed that Curcumin appears to be a safe, efficient and well-tolerated agent in depressed subjects. 
What it means: Depression is a complication that could develop from long-standing tinnitus. If not managed appropriately, the condition could hamper the quality of life of the individual to varying extents. Turmeric has been found to have the ability to serve as a natural, efficacious agent in this regard with a much better side effect profile compared to that of conventional anti-depressants.
4. It can help alleviate anxiety and irritability
Tinnitus can get quite uncomfortable and annoying at times. It can lead to feelings of worry, fear that is strong enough to interfere with an individual’s daily activities.
Such stress can, in turn, result in sleep disturbances, which could be significantly detrimental for neuronal health, thereby setting in a vicious cycle.
In order to allow a better prognosis, this cycle needs to be broken. This makes the treatment of anxiety imperative. Anxiolytic medications are commonly used to address this issue in tinnitus.
The problem with them is not curative; they just serve as temporary solutions as the symptoms return once the medication is withdrawn.
Also, continual use of these medications is not usually advised as they come laced with very many unpleasant side effects.
This is the premise of the research going on focused on more natural, biochemical molecules that would have a safer profile.
Curcumin is the frontrunner amongst many such natural derivatives being tested in this regard.
It has been demonstrated to elicit its anti-anxiety effects by promoting the production of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the brain, which is essential to inhibit the pathways of anxiety and downregulating the synthesis of nitrites in the plasma, which is often found to be elevated in stress and anxiety.  
In a clinical trial published in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, with 30 subjects randomly divided into two groups to receive either Curcumin or placebo, reported Curcumin to significantly reduce anxiety scores at follow up. 
What it means: Anxiety and irritability are frequently observed complication of tinnitus, in the long term especially. Turmeric acts in different ways to alleviate stress and anxiety and can, therefore, be a beneficial addition to conventional therapy, given that it comes with virtually no side effects when used appropriately.
5. Turmeric protects from drug-induced toxicity
A number of commonly used medications – both prescription and over the counter drugs such as painkillers, antibiotics, loop diuretics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and several chemotherapy agents have ototoxicity – toxicity to the ear as an established adverse effect.
Unfortunately, one can’t always avoid taking such drugs even at the cost of side effects. Ear toxicity is attributed to be one of the causes of tinnitus.
Investigators have shown that in preclinical studies, administering Curcumin along with chemotherapy has a protective effect on hearing.
Curcumin has been shown to prevent damage to the cochlea of rats exposed to such drugs by decreasing apoptosis of healthy cells, free radical production, and increasing anti-oxidant defenses by upregulating anti-oxidant and cytoprotective proteins.   
In a study on rats exposed to Cisplatin, the administration of Curcumin was associated with a decreased rate and intensity of ototoxicity.
The protective effect against apoptosis induced by Cisplatin was further decreased when another anti-oxidant such as vitamin E was administered alongside Curcumin. 
Consistent results have been reported in the case of Paclitaxel use too. Curcumin, as a common anti-oxidant agent, has reported being an important component to alleviate chemotherapy-induced ototoxicity.
Thus, research shows promise for the administration of turmeric along with drugs that are known to be ototoxic. 
What it means: Turmeric can be used as an adjunct therapy when drugs known to have adverse effects on the ear are being used. In such cases, turmeric has shown the potential to shield the different cells of the hearing system from oxidative damage induced by such drugs, especially the platinum derived chemotherapy agents.
6. Turmeric can alleviate central nervous system damage in tinnitus
There are several theories proposed by researchers with regard to the development of tinnitus. Preclinical models have helped to identify abnormalities in neuronal activity in the auditory region of the brain linked to tinnitus.
Animals with behavioral evidence of tinnitus have been reported to exhibit increased rates of spontaneous firing in the auditory neurons.
Tinnitus is associated with damage to the hair cells in the ear and the fibers of the auditory nerve, secondary to trauma (loud noise), or ototoxic drugs.
The central auditory system appears to increase its activity to compensate for the reduced input from the ear due to damaged cells.
As a result, hyperactivity is said to develop in the other cells of the hearing system as well as associated neurons.
Another mechanism that is supposedly involved in the production of the phantom ringing sound is the downregulation of the inhibitory proteins and signals in the auditory system induced by a state of hearing loss.  
Such degenerative reorganization changes can also happen in the central nervous system as a result of the aging process, thereby leading to tinnitus.
Oral administration of Curcumin before and each day during noise exposure has been found to significantly reduce the hearing loss induced by persistent noise exposure.
Findings suggest that Curcumin has a preventive effect on neural hearing loss induced by noise. 
What it means: Tinnitus can result from neurodegeneration in the brain due to noise exposure and aging. Turmeric has been found to help in such disorders. It is, therefore, a good therapeutic candidate for preventing tinnitus in individuals at risk.
7. It could help in managing fatigue and stress-induced by lack of sleep in tinnitus
Sleep is necessary for physical and mental health and wellbeing.
A good, regular sleep cycle is a prerequisite for several functions in the body right from growth, repair, learning, memory, and immunity.
Chronic sleep deprivation has been significantly implicated in mood disturbances and fatigue.
It results in impaired neuronal activity and oxidative stress from increased lipid peroxidation and depleted glutathione levels.
Sleep deprivation is a common complication in tinnitus as the sleep cycle is interrupted by the ringing sensation in the ear.
Studies have reported that Curcumin could shield neurons from the stress developed in sleep deprivation.
Treatment with Curcumin extract was found to significantly prevent adverse effects secondary to lack of sleep, such as fluctuation in weight, impairment in neuronal activity, and mood abnormalities.
A growing body of evidence suggests that the modulation of nitric oxide is instrumental in the protective effect of Curcumin in sleep deprivation-induced behavioral alterations and free radical damage.
This suggests the potential restorative effects of Curcumin in neuronal health. 
In studies focused on fatigue, significant attenuation of oxidative stress, as well as inflammatory markers such as TNF-α levels, has been observed with the use of Curcumin.
These findings are suggestive of Curcumin to be a promising option in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome seen as a complication of tinnitus too. 
What it means: Tinnitus is often associated with long term complications of fatigue and sleep deprivation. These changes are driven by free radical damage in the neuronal circuit, which turmeric being a potent inhibitor of, can be used as a therapeutic agent such that it helps better the overall quality of life and mental wellbeing of the individual.
8. Turmeric could help manage atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis refers to a buildup of cholesterol, fats, and metabolic waste in the arteries, resulting in a blockade of the vessel and causing blood flow to be turbulent.
Now, how could this be possibly related to the ringing in the ears, you might think. There is a connection between the two phenomenons.
The reasoning behind this is that, when the above process of cholesterol and fat accumulation occurs, the force of blood against the inner walls of the arteries increases.
When this happens in arteries in close proximity to the auditory system, the turbulence of blood flow might be heard as a rhythmic noise such as a heartbeat, swooshing, or whooshing.
This is why, organically, if the development of atherosclerosis is controlled, the lower would be the pressure of blood flow and lesser would be the intensity of tinnitus.
Curcumin has been found in a number of research studies to aid in the management of atherosclerosis. A preclinical study published in the Journal of Molecular
Nutrition and Food Research reported that supplementation with Curcumin was associated with a reduction in the extent of atherosclerotic lesions by about 26%. 
It exerts this effect by modulation of WBC adhesion to the lesion and downregulation of inflammation via the NF-κB pathways.
It was also found to decrease Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) uptake by the atherosclerotic plaque. 
What it means: A buildup of cholesterol and other cells in the arteries close to the hearing system can result in rhythmic sounds due to turbulent blood flow – referred to as pulsatile tinnitus. Turmeric has been shown to reduce the development of atherosclerosis. It could, therefore, potentially help alleviate tinnitus in such cases pending further research.
Turmeric Dosage for Tinnitus & How to Take?
Start with small doses such as 1/4-1/2 tsp and if you see no side effects then increase the dose gradually to 1-2 tsp 2-3 times a day over a few weeks.
Since turmeric is used commonly in Asian cuisine, you can be sure of the fact that it is absolutely safe when taken as part of your diet.
You can add it to your curries, soups, smoothies, etc.
Taking the Golden Paste is the best way to reap therapeutic effects of turmeric.
The black pepper and fats present in it enhance the absorption of turmeric thereby increasing its therapeutic efficacy.
It should be taken with food to avoid acid reflux. Avoid taking it at the same time when you take other meds.
If you need help identifying a good brand of turmeric please visit this page.
Can Turmeric and Ginger Help with Tinnitus?
The present research studies studying the direct effect of turmeric and ginger on tinnitus are not found. However, combined turmeric and ginger with their well-known pharmacological properties may help tinnitus. Therefore, more studies are warranted in the future.
Also, it may be effective against the bacteria infection associated with otitis. 
Turmeric has long been used for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help heal tinnitus.
Turmeric supplements might cause mild gastric trouble if it’s new to your system. However, if this persists then it is better you discontinue them and consult a doctor.
Few conditions in which you should avoid turmeric are:
- Pregnancy and lactation
- 2 weeks prior to surgery
- If you are suffering from diabetes and taking blood glucose-lowering medications for the same
- Gall bladder disorders
- While taking certain medications like those used to reduce stomach acid
If you are on blood-thinning medications please consult your doctor before taking turmeric. If you have a tendency to develop kidney stones, limit
There is little evidence connecting specific foods improving or worsening tinnitus. However, a well-balanced diet low in sodium may benefit tinnitus patients. Also, it is advisable to limit caffeine and alcohol intake.
Curcumin, the bioactive component of turmeric, showed a positive effect on inflammatory cell infiltration and may be used in anti-inflammatory treatment in acute otitis media. In addition, it may reduce xylene-induced ear swelling. However, more studies are required in future.
There is no study showing the role of turmeric in treating tinnitus-associated anxiety and depression. However, some preliminary studies showed that curcumin has anti-depressant and anti-anxiety-like activities. More studies are required to determine if turmeric helps with tinnitus-associated anxiety and depression.
In the end..
Tinnitus affects around 10-15% of the population. Noise inducing hearing loss and age-related changes are the most common causes.
The medicinal properties of turmeric haven’t been studied in relation to tinnitus but there are many studies which suggest that turmeric can act on different aspects of tinnitus.
It anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties suggest that it can be developed as an add-on therapy for tinnitus.