Can acupuncture treat tinnitus? Is it the answer to an effective and long-term relief to annoying buzzing in ears?
Tinnitus is a condition in which a person experiences a sudden or constant buzzing in the ears. It may be the result of exposure to excessive noise in the external environment, different ear disorders, anemia or maybe some cardiovascular abnormalities specifically aneurysm.
From ancient Chinese treatment, acupuncture is being introduced as a new way of treatment for different diseases. Discovered in western part of China, it is now adopted in other countries of Asia and some parts of Europe. There have been an increased interest in acupuncture and many practitioners have come out in this field of treatment .
How is it done? Acupuncture is based on stimulating the needles on the specific points in the human anatomy (human body parts) to relocate the flow of the blood to the target points. In most cases, its effectiveness depends on the acupuncturist. This is why acupuncturist must have excellent knowledge or experience. In fact, people in China are good at it because they have acupuncture course.
Acupuncture for tinnitus
Can tinnitus be cured or remedied by acupuncture? There were two studies conducted, the Podoshin and Furugard which in the end supported this alternative means of treatment to tinnitus.
Podoshin study gathered sixty patients and divided them at random. Later they received one of five types of treatment: the real biofeedback (50%), placebo biofeedback (0%), antihistamine (10%), and acupuncture (30%) positive result.
The Furugard study selected 22 subjects to undergo crossover design of acupuncture and physiotherapy. The scientists used visual analog scale in measuring the degree of loudness, awareness and annoyance of tinnitus before and after the treatment is made, together with a test called the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) in evaluating the outcomes of treatment. Patients give their positive response to loudness and annoyance after the acupuncture treatment with a rate of 45% as to greatly improved compared to 16% for physiotherapy. However more of the subjects rated themselves as improved using physiotherapy (84%) as to acupuncture (55%). In addition to this, annoyance and NHP scores revealed to have pretreatment levels at a one-year follow-up.
There are other studies to the effectiveness of acupuncture to treat tinnitus but unfortunately concluded as negative, This study differentiated acupuncture and placebo (a medical ineffectual treatment for a disease or other medical condition intended to deceive the recipient) using crossover studies. Actually, some patients reported that they felt an increased initial relief of symptoms from sham acupuncture than genuine acupuncture. In another study, the patients significantly became less troublesome to tinnitus after receiving acupuncture but unfortunately this could not be verified by visual analog scales which yielded results as negative.
Acupuncture treatment, in general showed positive results as to pain relief and other certain conditions such as nausea and fatigue. This was according to the feedback from numerous people to whom acupuncture was conducted as a means of treatment. However, acupuncture will not be fully recognized by many health professionals and institutions as treatment for ringing of the ears unless there are scientific studies conducted and positively showed remarkable results to back up the claims that acupuncture treats tinnitus.