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The Role of Trace Elements in Tinnitus


In this study, we aimed to investigate the role of three trace elements, namely, zinc, copper, and lead, in tinnitus by analyzing the serum level of copper and lead and both the serum and tissue level of zinc. Eighty patients, who applied to outpatient otolaryngology clinic with the complaints of having tinnitus, and 28 healthy volunteers were included. High-frequency audiometry was performed, and participants who had hearing loss according to the pure tone average were excluded; tinnitus frequency and loudness were determined and tinnitus reaction questionnaire scores were obtained from the patients. Of all the participants, serum zinc, copper, and lead values were measured; moreover, zinc levels were examined in hair samples. The levels of trace elements were compared between tinnitus and control groups. The level of copper was found to be significantly lower in the tinnitus group (p = 0.02), but there was no significant difference between the groups in terms of the levels of zinc, neither in serum nor in hair, and lead in serum (p > 0.05). The lack of trace elements, especially that of “zinc,” have been doubted for the etiopathogenesis of tinnitus in the literature; however, we only found copper levels to be low in patients having tinnitus.

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This study was supported by Kayseri Training and Research Hospital Research Fund. The authors thank audiologist Tansel Coşkunsu for collecting and interpreting the audiometric data of the patients from the sub-Department of Audiology, Kayseri Training and Research Hospital, Kayseri, Turkey.

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Correspondence to Mehmet İlhan Şahin.

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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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All authors have read the manuscript and have agreed to submit it in its current form for consideration for publication in the Biological Trace Element Research Journal.

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Yaşar, M., Şahin, M.İ., Karakükçü, Ç. et al. The Role of Trace Elements in Tinnitus. Biol Trace Elem Res 176, 65–72 (2017).

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  • Tinnitus
  • Trace elements
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Lead