Hearing loss becomes especially common in people as they age or have undergone an abnormal stimulus that resulted in the loss of hearing. Tinnitus in particular is a medical symptom that can indicate damage to your ear or auditory system.
While medical science has yet to figure out a way to fixing this sensorineural hearing loss, traditional medicine practitioners believe that acupuncture might help. This form of holistic therapy has shown promising results in restoring both hearing loss and tinnitus.
The British Tinnitus Association reviewed researches that explore the effects of acupuncture to help with tinnitus and concluded that there is no evidence for the treatment to be effective.
Albeit we have yet to find any western medicinal evidence that indicates the success of needling as a way to relieve pain, people are turning towards acupuncture after a thorough disappointment from allopathic medicine.
Acupuncture for Tinnitus
This holistic therapy, in general, is practiced to relieve stress, reduce back pain, and increase energy levels. But how much does it affect the patient with hearing loss? While there is a need for more studies to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture, trials are being conducted that show promising results.
Acupuncture for hearing loss or tinnitus involves placing the needles into the skin in and around the ear to stimulate these areas. Some studies claim acupuncture can cure tinnitus, or at least restore some of the hearing. However, we have yet to see conclusive results.
Although it is important to note that the needling process does involve stimulating the nerves that have a certain effect on your overall nervous system. Experts say that while your hearing might not be fully restored there are chances that the treatment could improve some type of hearing loss, especially nerve deafness.
Through clinical trials acupuncture has been proven to help with chronic pain, and some studies thoroughly research its effects to highlight the benefits that go beyond the placebo effect doctors believe in.
Pain can trigger stress, which triggers tinnitus, thus this form of therapy can indirectly help tinnitus patients. Acupuncture has calming benefits and is a common treatment for anxiety. It is very likely going to help in reducing the symptoms of tinnitus due to the close link between stress and tinnitus. Reducing stress levels will have a positive effect on tinnitus, and bring relief from tinnitus.
How does it Work?
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicinal method that depends on the Qi (energy) in your body. The energy flows within your body using a pathway called meridians. These are throughout your body. The concept of qi is to create an inner balance for your body to help the body heal itself.
During an acupuncture session needles almost as thin as hair are placed subcutaneously into your body. These are placed at certain points to stimulate your nerves based on the symptoms you are addressing.
Between 8 to 12 needles are used to stimulate all the important pressure points around the ear. Continue these sessions at least 8 to 10 times for increased benefits. If you’re going to a traditional Chinese practitioner, they complement the treatment with various herbs to boost the body’s immune system.
What points are being used?
Tinnitus is divided into five categories before the treatment and this is based on the type of disruption to your qi. If your hearing loss is due to the imbalance in your kidneys or gallbladder the qi pathways running along this part of your body will be stimulated.
This makes the site of your acupuncture shift towards abdominal points to improve kidney function.
However, if the source of the problem is your ear, which is most common, then the following points are used to reduce the effects of tinnitus.
– Tinggong (SI19)
– Ermen (TB21)
– Shangguan (GB3)
– Tinghui (GB2)
– Taixi (KI3)
– Yindu (KI19)
– Fengchi (GB20)
– Zhongzhu (SJ3)
– Hegu (LI4)
– Yanglao (SI6)
Is it right for you?
Acupuncturists have existed for hundreds of years. This treatment has become popular to a point that people all over the world have taken advantage of it. You’re going to find much traditional Chinese medicine enthusiasts within your city.
The treatment for improving hearing loss through acupuncture has been used for centuries. This form of alternative therapy has a promising future and is in the “it might help” category.
The risks are low, and you’re going to feel at peace mentally after getting the procedure done. However, much like any alternate medicine acupuncture can be expensive and will not be covered by health insurance.
However, before you try acupuncture, do make it a point to visit your hearing health specialist for a comprehensive hearing test to learn more about what is causing your hearing loss and your hearing health.
Sometimes hearing loss is simply due to ear wax buildup or an ear infection. Make sure you know what kind you’re dealing with so you’re better able to tell your acupuncturist about where and why the loss is happening.
Is Acupuncture Safe for You to Try?
If performed by a trained and experienced acupuncturist there should be little to no complications when it comes to treating hearing loss with acupuncture. This form of therapy, in general, is also safe to try with no long-lasting effects that can be physically or mentally debilitating.
Nonetheless if performed incorrectly it can create complications that put you at risk of serious side effects. If the needles are penetrated too deep into the skin they might be in danger of stabbing vital organs or important nerves.
The needles need to be sterilized properly before they are used on you, as that can be a cause of an unknown disease entering your bloodstream. Make sure you’re going to licensed acupuncturists as they are under strict rules to use only disposable needles.
After a session, people might experience mild side effects like nausea, dizziness, or tenderness around the acupuncture points. You should avoid this treatment if you are pregnant, take blood thinners, or have a pacemaker that can be affected due to the mild electric pulse used with acupuncture needles.
Benefits of Acupuncture for Tinnitus
While the jury is still out on whether acupuncture can be used as a definitive cure for tinnitus, there are recent studies that suggest acupuncture decreases the intensity of tinnitus. It boosts the quality of life, and makes the world, for those who suffer from tinnitus, quieter and less severe.
If you pair acupuncture for tinnitus with other good habits like regular exercise and a nutritious diet, you’re going to see faster results. For those who experience tinnitus due to hypertension, acupuncture becomes an extremely effective way to reduce its severity by helping regulate blood circulation.
Acupuncture might be one of the most promising ways to reduce the symptoms of tinnitus if not completely cure it. There are still more important researches that need to be done to conclude how well people respond to this treatment alone.
This is why we are now seeing more and more studies that are trying to look into the effects acupuncture has on common illnesses. While the world is still trying to understand how acupuncture can achieve such results, documented research does show that it works without inducing any long-lasting side effects.
Author Michael Kaliko DC