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University of Iowa News Release


Aug. 27, 2008

UI study seeks adults with tinnitus

Men and women over age 60 with problematic tinnitus are invited to participate in a University of Iowa research study examining the effect of a pure form of zinc on the condition.

Zinc is a biologically important trace element that plays a role in nerve tissue function. The study, which will involve five visits to UI Hospitals and Clinics over 10 months and six telephone interviews, will test whether this pure form of zinc can reduce tinnitus.

To be eligible to participate, individuals should be generally healthy, not involved in other treatments for tinnitus and not taking any dietary supplements.

All study participants will receive the pure zinc for four months and placebo for four months. Half the participants will receive zinc followed by placebo, the other half will get placebo followed by zinc. Participants will not know whether they are receiving zinc or placebo in each four-month period.

The supplements used for the study and any hearing or blood tests will be provided at no cost. Compensation for parking also is available.

Approximately one in every 10 Americans will experience some form of tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, which occurs when you perceive sounds that originate in your head. Tinnitus can be problematic for many people and often can affect emotional well-being, hearing, sleep and concentration. There is no cure for the disorder.

The lead investigator of the UI study is Richard Tyler, Ph.D., professor of otolaryngology - head and neck surgery in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and professor of speech pathology in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

This study is funded by the Tinnitus Research Initiative, a private foundation dedicated to improving the quality of life for patients with tinnitus and tinnitus-related disorders.

For more information, contact Shelley Witt at 319-356-3969 or

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5135 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACTS: Shelley Witt, Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, 319-356-3969,; Jennifer Brown, 319-335-9917,