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Hearing Loss

Related Terms

Hearing loss is a decrease in the ability to hear. It can cause problems hearing low- or high-pitched sounds. It can also cause problems hearing speech when there is background noise.

Hearing aids can help improve hearing. Some people may need surgery. Some people use natural therapies to help slow hearing loss.

Natural Therapies

Likely Effective

  • Ginseng is a plant. The root can be taken as a supplement. It is likely to slow hearing loss.C1, C5

May Be Effective

  • Acupuncture is the use of thin needles in parts of the body to improve health. It may ease hearing loss.A1, A2
  • Antioxidants are found in foods and taken as a supplement to prevent or delay cell damage. They may improve hearing loss when used with standard treatment.C2
  • Gushen Pian is a traditional Chinese medicine that may benefit people with hearing loss.C7

May Not Be Effective

  • Zinc is an essential mineral found in foods and taken as a supplement. It may not benefit people with hearing loss.C4, C8

Unlikely to Be Effective

  • Vitamin E is found in nuts and olive oil. It is unlikely to slow hearing loss.C1

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Auditory training B1, B2
  • Chinese herbal medicine C6
  • N-Acetyl Cysteine C5
  • Ginkgo biloba C3

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.




A1. Zhang XC, Xu XP, et al. Acupuncture therapy for sudden sensorineural hearing loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PLoS One. 2015;10(4):e0125240.

A2. Chen S, Zhao M, et al. Acupuncture for the treatment of sudden sensorineural hearing loss: A systematic review and meta-analysis: Acupuncture for SSNHL. Complement Ther Med. 2019 Feb;42:381-388.

Auditory Training

B1. Lawrence BJ, Jayakody DMP, et al. Auditory and Cognitive Training for Cognition in Adults With Hearing Loss: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Trends Hear. 2018;22.

B2. Henshaw H, Ferguson MA. Efficacy of individual computer-based auditory training for people with hearing loss: a systematic review of the evidence. PLoS One. 2013 May 10;8(5):e62836.

Herbs and Supplements

C1. Souza MEDCA, Costa KVTD, et al. Effect of antioxidant supplementation on the auditory threshold in sensorineural hearing loss: a meta-analysis. Braz J Otorhinolaryngol. 2018;84(3):368-380.

C2. Ibrahim I, Zeitouni A, et al. Effect of Antioxidant Vitamins as Adjuvant Therapy for Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss: Systematic Review Study. Audiol Neurootol. 2018;23(1):1-7.

C3. Koo JW, Chang MY, et al. The efficacy and safety of systemic injection of Ginkgo biloba extract, EGb761, in idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss: a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2016 Sep;273(9):2433-2441.

C4. Hunchaisri N, Chantapant S, et al. Effectiveness of oral zinc supplementation in the treatment of idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSNHL). J Med Assoc Thai. 2015 Apr;98(4):400-407.

C5. Doosti A, Lotfi Y, et al. Comparison of the effects of N-acetyl-cysteine and ginseng in prevention of noise induced hearing loss in male textile workers. Noise Health. 2014 Jul-Aug;16(71):223-227.

C6. Su CX, Yan LJ, et al. Chinese herbal medicine for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss: a systematic review of randomised clinical trials. Clin Otolaryngol. 2013 Dec;38(6):455-473.

C7. Zhai S, Fang Y, et al. Clinical investigation on the beneficial effects of the Chinese medicinal herb Gushen Pian on sensorineural deafness and tinnitus. Cell Biochem Biophys. 2013 Nov;67(2):785-793.

C8. Yang CH, Ko MT, et al. Zinc in the treatment of idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Laryngoscope. 2011 Mar;121(3):617-621.

Last reviewed November 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC