Can Sertraline cause tinnitus?

In this article, we will discuss whether Sertraline can cause tinnitus. We will also talk about the incidence of this side effect and some treatment or management strategies used in clinical settings. 

Can Sertraline cause tinnitus?

Sertraline can cause tinnitus in some individuals, but it is not considered a common side effect of this antidepressant. Tinnitus or ringing in the ears is listed as a rare side effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, including Sertraline (1,2). 

It’s essential to be aware of this potential side effect, but also remember that it’s not common and not everyone taking Sertraline experiences this side effect. 

Additionally, people could have underlying factors that may make them more susceptible to certain side effects associated with antidepressants, including tinnitus. If you do notice any unusual symptoms like tinnitus while taking Sertraline, it’s crucial to discuss them with your doctor. 

What does research suggest?

There is limited research on the direct relationship between Sertraline and tinnitus. However, some cases have been reported. Research suggests that tinnitus can be a rare side effect of antidepressants like Sertraline. 

It doesn’t affect everyone, as people respond differently to medications. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain, is involved in how we perceive sounds (3). 

A case was reported where a woman developed tinnitus while taking Sertraline, and it improved after she stopped the medication (3). This suggests that tinnitus could be related to how serotonin receptors work in the auditory system, and since Sertraline can affect serotonin levels – it may cause tinnitus (3,4). 

Other SSRIs like Escitalopram can also trigger tinnitus. However, some studies have indicated that Sertraline and other SSRIs can actually be used to manage tinnitus triggered by depression or anxiety. 

A study included 76 people with severe tinnitus. The participants were randomly given either a placebo or Sertraline for 16 weeks (5).

The results showed that Sertraline was more effective than the placebo in reducing the severity of tinnitus and how loud it sounded. It also helped with depression and anxiety symptoms (5). 

However, some participants stopped taking Sertraline within the first two weeks due to side effects. In simpler terms, this study suggests that Sertraline might help with severe tinnitus and related mental health symptoms for some people, but it may not work for everyone, and there can be side effects.

Another study looked at the connection between depression, anxiety, and tinnitus. It explored how antidepressants might help with tinnitus, both by treating depression and anxiety that often come with it and through a direct impact on the brain’s serotonin system (6). 

The review also examined various antidepressants, including Sertraline, for the management of tinnitus. However, the study concluded that more research is necessary to determine the proper doses of antidepressants and their safety for the management of tinnitus (6).

What to do if Sertraline causes tinnitus?

If you experience tinnitus while taking Sertraline, it’s crucial to speak with your doctor about it. Tinnitus can sometimes lead to the need to stop Sertraline treatment, and it’s worth noting that other antidepressants like Lexapro may also have this effect. 

Your doctor can guide you on managing tinnitus, which might involve therapy or using noise-cancelling devices to alleviate the symptoms.

Importantly, don’t abruptly discontinue Sertraline without discussing it with your healthcare provider. Your doctor can help you make informed decisions about your treatment and manage any side effects effectively. Just don’t make any changes to your prescription on your own. 


In this article, we have discussed that Sertraline can cause tinnitus rarely. We have also talked about the incidence of this side effect and some treatment or management strategies used in clinical settings. 

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION. ZOLOFT (sertraline hydrochloride) tablets, for oral use. Available from:


National Library of Medicine. Sertraline: MedlinePlus Drug Information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. National Library of Medicine. Available from:


Miller CW. Development of Tinnitus at a Low Dose of Sertraline: Clinical Course and Proposed Mechanisms. Case Rep Psychiatry. 2016;2016:1790692. doi: 10.1155/2016/1790692. Epub 2016 Sep 15. PMID: 27703829; PMCID: PMC5040800. Available from:


Singh HK, Saadabadi A. Sertraline. 2023 Feb 13. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 31613469. Available from: v


Zöger S, Svedlund J, Holgers KM. The effects of sertraline on severe tinnitus suffering–a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2006 Feb;26(1):32-9. doi: 10.1097/ PMID: 16415703. Available from:


Robinson SK, Viirre ES, Stein MB. Antidepressant therapy in tinnitus. Hear Res. 2007 Apr;226(1-2):221-31. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2006.08.004. Epub 2006 Sep 14. PMID: 16973315. Available from:

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