Amino-oxyacetic acid (AOAA) was evaluated as a palliative in tinnitus. Sixty-six patients with tinnitus presumed to be of cochlear origin were given either a placebo or 75 mg of AOAA four times a day for 1 week. Response was evaluated by both audiometric measurement of tinnitus loudness and subjective rating by patients of change or no change in tinnitus severity. Because loudness measurements and self-rating have not been shown to be independent, and since the aim of clinical treatment of tinnitus is the alleviation of subjective distress, greater weight was given to the patient's self-rating. A total of 21% of all patients reported a subjective decrease in tinnitus severity, usually within 3 to 4 days after the start of AOAA use. Patients with tinnitus caused by presbycusis or Meniere's disease were the most likely to respond to AOAA treatment with a reduction in tinnitus severity, whereas those with drug-induced tinnitus were the least likely to respond. Nausea and dysequilibrium were the most common side effects of AOAA use. Of the 21% of patients who responded to AOAA, 71% developed some type of side effect. Amino-oxyacetic acid produces a reduction in the severity of tinnitus in about 20% of patients; however, the incidence of side effects makes the drug unacceptable for clinical use.