Acupuncture for tinnitus
Tinnitus is a medical condition of ringing in the ears with a high pitched sound which causes some hearing loss. It can affect men and women. Around 18% of the population suffer from tinnitus.
Symptoms of tinnitus include ringing, buzzing, clicking, or rushing, dizziness and even hearing loss.
Types of tinnitus
There are different types of tinnitus:
- Subjective tinnitus
- Sensory tinnitus
- Somatic tinnitus
- Objective tinnitus
The volume of ringing in the ears can vary week to week. For some patients with tinnitus it can be a sudden onset and be debilitating. It can affect people's sleep, mood and sociability. It can affect people's interaction with friends and family in social situations such as eating out in a restaurant, drinking in a bar or at a party, all of which have too much back-ground noise that together with the tinnitus, affects their ability to hear people talking.
A lot of people complain about tinnitus. Western medicine believes that tinnitus is caused by modern living with the use of headphones, loud music venues, an ear infection, trauma to the ear drum and a head injury that have damaged a lot of people's hearing.
From a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) viewpoint it can be caused by trauma to the ear drum by a head injury or loud noises as well as excessive working, exercising or poor lifestyle and diet over many years. Therefore, it's important to make lifestyle changes to improve your overall general health.
Treatment for tinnitus
There is no treatment for tinnitus in western medicine. Normally, people will play low level noise at night to muffle the sound of the ringing in the ears so they can switch off from it and sleep.
Acupuncture treatment has been used for thousands of years as a treatment of tinnitus to improve the person's quality of life. It can reduce the levels of tinnitus in some people, depending upon their underlying health. Research has shown the benefical effects of acupuncture treatment for tinnitus.
I can treat tinnitus by stimulation acupuncture points to increase blood flow to the head and neck, which::
- Acts on the cochlea, specifically on the contractile activity of outer hair cells
- Acts on the function of the olivocochlear system
- Alters the brain's chemistry, increasing neuropeptide Y levels and reducing serotonin levels
- Reduces inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory actors
- Increases local microcirculation, which aids dispersal of swelling
In cases of chronic tinnitus, a combination of Chinese herbs and acupuncture treatment would provide better results. Double blind clinical trials have proven the effectiveness of acupuncture in perception of sound and a significant effect in reducing tinnitus.
Download my tinnitus factsheet.
Daniel Mochida Okada, Ektor Tsuneo Onishi, Fernando Ioriatti Chami, Andrei Borin, Nicolle Cassola, Viviane Maria Guerreiro,
Acupuncture for tinnitus immediate relief, Brazilian Journal of Otorhinolaryngology, Volume 72, Issue 2, 2006, Pages 182-186, ISSN 1808-8694, https://doi.org/10.1016/S1808-8694(15)30053-7.
Podoshin L, Ben-David Y, Fradis M, Gerstel R, Felner H. Idiopathic subjective tinnitus treated by biofeedback, acupuncture and drug therapy. Ear Nose Throat J. 1991 May;70(5) 284-289. PMID: 1914952.
Furugård S, Hedin PJ, Eggertz A, Laurent C. [Acupuncture worth trying in severe tinnitus] Lakartidningen. 1998 Apr;95(17) 1922-1928. PMID: 9604636.
Kelun Wang, Jon Bugge, Sven Bugge. A randomised, placebo-controlled trial of manual and electrical acupuncture for the treatment of tinnitus, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Volume 18, Issue 6, 2010, Pages 249-255, ISSN 0965-2299, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2010.09.005.