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Ginkgo might help relieve ringing in ears


Q. In the past few months I have become acutely aware of a ringing in my ears. The doctor says it is tinnitus and there is nothing that can be done to eliminate it.

Is it possible that there is a vitamin or herb I can take that would alleviate the problem? You have no idea how disconcerting this noise is.

A. There is no cure for ringing in the ears. Some doctors prescribe anti-anxiety agents like Xanax, while others suggest white noise (like static) to mask the sound.

We have heard from some readers that ginkgo might be beneficial. Research has produced mixed results, however. People whose tinnitus is related to poor circulation to the ear might benefit as this reader did: "When I turned 71, I began to get dizzy spells and hear a roar like the ocean in my ears. After taking ginkgo, it went away, and I am grateful."

While we make no promises for ginkgo, it might be worth a try.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of the People's Pharmacy, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, N.C. 27717, or e-mail them via their Web site ( on the network.

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