Name of treatment

Vitamin B12

(cobolamin) (methylcobalamin) (cyanocobalamin)

Type of treatment Dietary supplement
Claims for treatment

Reduces/eliminates the tinnitus percept. Shortage of this nutrient has been linked with chronic tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss. [1][2][3]

How treatment is delivered Orally; intramuscular therapy [3]
Potential negative consequences Generally regarded as safe; cost

Evidence offered

Papers available <20 [1964-2016]
Conclusions drawn Vitamin B12 deficiency is more common in people with tinnitus than the general population [1][2][3]. Although tinnitus severity improves in some people following vitamin B12 therapy, the results are not significant [3]
Quality of evidence [4] C/D
Does the BTA recommend this treatment? No
BTA opinion on this treatment Although independent evidence is limited and of poor quality, what there is does not show that Vitamin B12 is effective for tinnitus. We would suggest you talk to your GP before taking any new medication or supplement.
Would the BTA support further studies into this treatment? Unlikely
Verdict: Safety - is this treatment harmful?

 Regarded as safe

Verdict: Efficacy - does this treatment work?

No evidence of effect

[1] Shemesh Z, Attias J, Ornan M, Shapira N, Shahar A. Vitamin B12 deficiency in patients with chronic tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss. American Journal of Otolaryngology, 1993: 14(2)m 94-9

[2] Berkiten G, Yildirim G, Topaloglu I, Ugras H. Vitamin B12 levels in patients with tinnitus and effectiveness of vitamin B12 treatment on hearing threshold and tinnitus. B-ENT, 2013: 9(2), 111-6

[3] Singh C, Kawatra R, Gupta J, Awasthi V, Dungana H. Therapeutic role of Vitamin B12 in patients of chronic tinnitus: A pilot study. Noise Health, 2016: 18(81), 93-7

[4] A = Systematic review/meta analysis. B = Randomised control studies. C = Cohort studies. D = Case control studies. E = case studies/reports. +/- to be used to indicate quality within bands

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Updated 15 April 2019

Information currently under review April 2022