About 10% of the population has once experienced tinnitus, a symptom that can indicate auditory damage or other underlying medical conditions. Tinnitus is a ringing, humming, or roaring sound in the ears, varying in pitch and intensity. It can last minutes to days, disrupting your overall wellbeing, further instigating other conditions such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
For many people, acupuncture has proven effective at reducing or eliminating tinnitus. Indeed, Chinese practitioners have been using acupuncture to treat hearing issues for centuries. Acupuncture can be used in conjunction with other forms of traditional Chinese medicine to balance energy levels and improve quality of life.
Underlying Causes of Tinnitus
Treating tinnitus is tricky, because it is often a symptom of another underlying condition, and there’s no real “cure”. While most tinnitus is caused by hearing loss, some other common causes include head and neck injuries, ear infections, sinus pressure, abnormal growths, and certain medications, such as cancer medicines, antidepressants, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Some rarer causes include Meniere’s disease, inner-ear muscle spasms, TMJ disorders, blood vessel disorders, and even some chronic conditions like diabetes, hypothyroidism, anemia, or lupus.
Identifying the cause of your tinnitus, if possible, is the best way to formulate an effective treatment method. Acupuncture can help many of the unique conditions listed in the above paragraph. Some common tests that can help diagnose the causes of your tinnitus include a hearing (audiological) exam, medical imaging tests like a CT or MRI scan, blood tests, etc. A physical exam can also help eliminate different parts of the body (namely, does your tinnitus worsen with certain movements?)
The type of sound you hear can also indicate the sources of your tinnitus. For example, a clicking sound often suggests muscle contractions in the ear. A low-pitched ringing could suggest ear canal blockages, while a high-pitched ringing suggests hearing loss or medications. A pulsing or rushing sound could show blood vessel issues.
It’s not the end of the world if you struggle to pinpoint the causes of your tinnitus, even after testing. Luckily, there are a number of acu-pressure points in the ear that target the condition itself. Studies concerning acupuncture for tinnitus have been small, but promising. In 2010, a clinical trial conducted in Iran found that between a placebo and control group, the control group indicated markedly improved results. A retrospective in 2019 concluded the same results. Both studies noted that in order to achieve lasting results, 5-20 acupuncture sessions may be necessary.
Acupuncture works best in combination with other forms of care. Eating well, exercising, and mindfulness training can boost your physical and mental state. Some herbs and supplements, such as Vitamin B and ginkgo, reduce symptoms of tinnitus as well. While nothing is guaranteed with this incurable condition, acupuncture is safe, side-effect free, and proven to help many.
If you or someone you love is experiencing chronic tinnitus, acupuncture may be able to provide some relief. For additional information or to schedule an appointment with a certified acupuncturist in the Louisville, Kentucky-area, contact Lindsay Matthews M.Ac.O.M, L.Ac at River City Wellness today by calling: 502-822-0626.