Q: Can the homeopathic remedy Quietus help my tinnitus?
A: Don’t count on it. The lack of data to support its use is deafening. Actually, there’s no good evidence that any homeopathic products—which contain anywhere from miniscule to virtually nonexistent amounts of “active” ingredients—work for anything.
Tinnitus is characterized by ringing, buzzing, or hissing in the ears. Because there’s no cure for it, it’s not surprising that tinnitus sufferers often turn to unproven remedies.
Sold on the Internet for more than $100 a month, Quietus tablets contain tiny amounts of cinchona bark, sulphate of quinine, salicylic acid and other ingredients. The company’s website provides lots of testimonials of “satisfied” customers.
But we could find no published clinical studies on Quietus. A review by the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database found nothing, either, to show that the product is effective. “In the absence of independent double-blind testing, it’s impossible to separate successful treatment from placebo effects that can be duplicated with less expensive sugar pills,” according to Brad May, Ph.D., a hearing expert at Johns Hopkins University. In fact, the placebo effect may play a role in any improvement seen when people with tinnitus take such remedies, especially since the symptoms often wax and wane on their own.
Rather than believe the handful of testimonials on the Quietus website—which the company acknowledges “do not represent the typical or ordinary experience of users”—you should heed the hundreds of warnings on other sites, with customers complaining that the product doesn’t work and that the salespeople aggressively push add-on products. The Better Business Bureau gives the company a D grade.
Bottom line: Don’t waste your money on what are likely to be pricey placebo pills. Quietus comes with a money-back guarantee, but you won’t recoup the shipping and handling cost, and customers have reported problems canceling their orders. Though no treatment for tinnitus helps everyone, some coping strategies can be useful, including in-ear masking devices and tinnitus retraining therapy. Hearing aids and medications may also help some people. You can see an otologist for a tinnitus evaluation and to discuss your options.