Essential oils may have some health benefits for conditions like tinnitus. However, use extreme caution when using essential oils for tinnitus, as improper use may be hazardous to your hearing.

Someone mixing an essential oil dilution to help treat tinnitus. Share on Pinterest
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Tinnitus is a common condition. People often describe it as a ringing, roaring, or buzzing sound in the ears. It’s a very real sound that is, literally, only in your head, as it does not have an outside source. Researchers estimate that up to 25% of adults experience tinnitus to varying degrees.

There’s no cure for tinnitus, but there are different ways to reduce symptoms. While some people find relief through natural remedies, including essential oils, it’s important to proceed with caution. Essential oils can be harmful if you don’t use them properly, and there’s no current evidence that they can relieve tinnitus.

Essential oils are any oils that are extracted from plants. People often use them in aromatherapy products, and some essential oils have therapeutic properties.

While you may see claims that an essential oil or blend of oils can help relieve tinnitus symptoms, there is currently no evidence-based research to support this.

However, some essential oils can help promote relaxation, improve sleep, and possibly reduce anxiety, all of which could lead to reduced tinnitus symptoms.

Some essential oils recommended for tinnitus are:

  • Helichrysum oil: Some claim that helichrysum oil can repair blood vessels and nerves and promote fluid drainage, which may relieve pressure and help tinnitus symptoms.
  • Patchouli oil: This oil may have circulatory benefits and draining properties.
  • Basil oil: There are claims that basil oil can help calm the smooth muscle cells in your ears, reducing tinnitus. Basil’s antibacterial benefits may also help tinnitus caused by persistent ear infections.
  • Lavender oil: A popular essential oil, lavender can aid in relaxation, reduce inflammation, and soothe anxiety, which could help tinnitus.

Keep in mind that none of these essential oils have been shown to specifically treat or reduce symptoms of tinnitus, but tinnitus improvement could be an accessory benefit.

Want to get involved with the research?

If you’d like to help scientists learn more about how essential oils or other forms of alternative medicine can help treat tinnitus, you may be eligible for a clinical study. Check out ClinicalTrials.gov to learn more about currently open studies and surveys.

Make sure to discuss participation in a study with your primary healthcare team, especially if it would involve any change to your regular treatment plan.

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While essential oils may offer certain health benefits, it’s important to proceed with caution, especially if using them for therapeutic or medicinal purposes.

Essential oils are highly concentrated and not intended for use on their own. Undiluted essential oils may cause adverse effects to your skin and occasionally be poisonous. Additionally, essential oils are rarely intended for internal or oral ingestion, except when administered by a trained professional.

Improper inhalation of essential oils can also irritate the respiratory tract and may worsen existing health issues, such as asthma.

Essential oils are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), meaning their purity and quality are not monitored.

This also applies to the health claims made about essential oils. While essential oil products have a legal responsibility to be considered “safe” when used as directed, they are not required to be proven effective against a specific benefit. So long as an essential oil product uses an appropriate disclaimer in its labeling, it is not in violation of any federal requirement.

Do your research before proceeding with any essential oil use for tinnitus, and make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.

If you’re going to use essential oils for tinnitus or any other purpose, it’s important to follow certain safety precautions. In general, consider doing the following:

  • Talk with your primary healthcare professional before using essential oils to treat tinnitus.
  • Never use pure essential oil directly in your ear.
  • Always use a carrier oil or other appropriate dilution.
    • Typical dilutions call for only 2 or 3 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil.
  • Never use or give essential oils to children or infants.
  • Never take an essential oil orally.
  • Make sure you are using the essential oil how and where it is intended.
  • Try a test patch on your inner wrist or outer earlobe before using it in a sensitive spot like the inner ear.
  • Don’t use an essential oil on damaged skin.
  • Discontinue use if you have any adverse reaction.

Check out this article to learn more about working with essential oils safely.

Some essential oils are intended to be used topically, or applied on your skin. Occasionally, these essential oils can cause adverse reactions, such as:

  • irritation and burning, especially with an undiluted oil
  • rashes or hives, which could indicate an allergic reaction
  • contact dermatitis, an itchy, scaly rash that may blister

To avoid these side effects, make sure you’re using a proper dilution. Talk with your doctor to determine whether you should watch for any additional side effects.

Several natural remedies may help reduce your symptoms of tinnitus:

  • Relaxation techniques, such as meditation and breathing exercises, can help reduce stress and remove your focus from tinnitus.
    • Yoga can reduce stress and anxiety and was shown to reduce symptoms in people with chronic tinnitus.
  • Sound therapy, such as masking, may effectively suppress tinnitus in some people. Sound therapy is accessible though some apps.
  • Acai is a fruit rich in polyphenols and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. While more research is needed to confirm the safety and effectiveness of acai, one study showed a significant decrease in discomfort for tinnitus symptoms using acai.
  • Red Asian ginseng may be able to protect against hearing loss and cochlear damage, which would help with tinnitus. One study showed a tinnitus symptom reduction with red Asian ginseng, but more research is needed.
  • Reduce caffeine intake. For some people, reducing or eliminating caffeine can help improve sleep and reduce tinnitus symptoms.
  • Try acupuncture. The research is limited, but acupuncture may also be able to reduce tinnitus symptoms for some people with little risk of adverse side effects.

Essential oils are plant-derived oils that can have certain therapeutic benefits. However, no research supports the benefits of essential oils for tinnitus symptoms.

Essential oils that help reduce stress and inflammation or improve circulation are sometimes suggested to relieve tinnitus symptoms, as managing these issues may help with tinnitus.

It’s important to use essential oils with caution and with proper dilution, as they can be harmful if not used as directed. Talk with your doctor before using essential oils in a sensitive location like your ear.