[The serum zinc level in patients with tinnitus and the effect of zinc treatment].Nihon Jibiinkoka Gakkai Kaiho 1997; 100(9):915-9NJ
We measured the serum zinc level in patients with tinnitus and evaluated the effectiveness of zinc in the treatment of tinnitus. Blood zinc levels were measured in 121 patients with tinnitus. All patients were examined between 1995 and 1997 at the outpatient clinic of otorhinolaryngology St. Marianna University Toyoko Hospital. Forty-seven patients who had received any drug such as a calcium channel blocker and others or had been affected by any diseases were excluded and therefore 74 patients consisting of 46 females (62%) and 28 males (38%) were investigated. Twenty two healthy volunteers served as a control group. The mean age and standard deviations for the tinnitus group and the control group were 47.8 +/- 17.1 and 31.4 +/- 8.2 years, respectively. There was a significant decrease (p < 0.0001) in serum zinc levels in patients with tinnitus compared with the control group. Because there was a significant difference (p < 0.0001) in age distribution between tinnitus and control groups, patients were selected by their age in order to neglect the effect of aging. In this situation, a significant difference (p < 0.01) was noted between the tinnitus group and control group. Low blood zinc level was defined by using the mean and standard deviation for the control group (mean-1 S.D.). We treated patients with low blood zinc levels. A total dose of 34-68 mg of Zn++ was administered daily for over 2 weeks. The degree of tinnitus was expressed on a numeric scale from 0 to 10 before and after treatment. Blood zinc levels were significantly elevated (p < 0.05) after treatment. We found a significant decrease (p < 0.01) in the numeric scale. These findings suggest that zinc is useful in at least some patients suffering from tinnitus. It is possible to classify patients with tinnitus by measuring serum zinc level and this leads to improvement of the overall treatment effect.