Oxytocin, dubbed as the "love hormone" as it promotes social connections, might also help relieve the annoying and disturbing noises of chronic ringing in the ears, called tinnitus, suggest Brazilian researchers.
Tinnitus is characterised as the hearing of sounds -- perceived as ringing, buzzing, crickets or hissing -- when there are none. The findings showed that people suffering from tinnitus may find some relief by spraying the hormone oxytocin in their nose.
‘People suffering from tinnitus may find some relief by spraying the love hormone oxytocin in their nose.’
"Oxytocin has actions in the brain and the ear that may help in tinnitus treatment and provide immediate relief," lead researcher Andreia Azevedo from the Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo in Brazil, was quoted as saying to Healthday.com.
For the new study, the researchers randomly assigned 17 tinnitus patients with an average age of 63, to puffs of oxytocin or a placebo (distilled water) in each nostril.
The study volunteers were asked to assess their symptoms 30 minutes after treatment, and then again, 24 hours later. The team found that patients who received oxytocin reported a significant reduction in tinnitus, compared with those who received the placebo.
However, the results of this small trial are not sufficient to draw any conclusions about oxytocin as a treatment, the researchers said. In addition, the hormone may also produce serious side effects, including abnormal heartbeat, low or high blood pressure, allergic reactions, breathing difficulty, nausea and vomiting.
Thus, people suffering from tinnitus should not start using oxytocin in hopes of curing themselves, said Darius Kohan, Chief (otology/neurotology) at Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital in New York City, US. The research team is conducting additional studies to see if increasing doses of oxytocin can improve and lengthen the response.
"We expect that these trials will raise the interest in this drug and result in larger randomised trials," Azevedo said. The results of were presented at the meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery in San Diego, recently.