What is Tinnitus Acupuncture?

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  • Written By: Jennifer Voight
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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Tinnitus acupuncture is treatment of persistent subjective ringing in the ears with a traditional Chinese medicine practice. Acupuncture uses very small diameter needles to stimulate pressure points in the skin. The theory is that tinnitus acupuncture can correct energy imbalances that lead to a variety of symptoms, including tinnitus. Acupuncture practitioners believe that there are two types of tinnitus that have different root causes. When specific excesses and deficiencies are treated, then the tinnitus symptoms should theoretically lessen or disappear.

Many people turn to tinnitus acupuncture for relief because traditional medicine simply does not know enough about the condition to treat it effectively. For the majority of chronic tinnitus sufferers, there is no effective treatment, only behavioral management techniques. Unless tinnitus resolves itself, there is currently no cure.

Tinnitus acupuncture may offer some hope for some sufferers because it cannot hurt and might help. Still, it may take as long as 10 to 15 sessions with a qualified acupuncturist to see an improvement. In addition to acupuncture treatment, many practitioners also recommend lifestyle and dietary changes to help treat the person as a whole.


Tinnitus has many causes, from medication side effects to hearing damage from chronic exposure to loud noises. In some cases, tinnitus is a temporary symptom, but sometimes the condition may be permanent. Acupuncturists believe that chronic tinnitus that is characterized by a low-pitched humming sound may be a symptom of a deficiency. Other symptoms that indicate a deficiency would be low back pain, poor vision, and headaches.

If tinnitus appears suddenly and is characterized by a rumbling or roaring sound, tinnitus acupuncturists believe that this may indicate an excess energy that may need to be unblocked. Acupuncture is characterized by the belief that the human body contains a vital life force, or qi, that carries out the necessary functions of maintaining life. Qi is believed to travel specific pathways in the body. Disturbances in this life force cause symptoms we experience as illness or pain.

Acupuncture involves stimulating these pathways with tiny needles that are about one-tenth the diameter of a hypodermic needle. Patients report that acupuncture treatments are relaxing and not painful. Results are usually immediate, although transitory. Many patients need to return for repeated treatment in order to remain symptom-free.

Results from tinnitus acupuncture tend to be mixed. Many studies have been conducted that show significant benefits from tinnitus acupuncture. Other studies showed no difference between treated and placebo groups. One reason some people may get relief could be due to the placebo effect. Also, improvement is a subjective term relying on patient reports that may be skewed.


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