New research concludes that acupuncture treats hearing loss. Researchers measured the effects of acupuncture on patients with sudden sensorineural hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is defined as a loss of 30 dB or more in 3 contiguous frequencies within three days or less. Thirty-six patients of a total of seventy-two “showed improvement” with an average gain of 24.47 dB of hearing restoration. The researchers “demonstrated that favorable prognosis was directly related to the time interval from the onset of hearing loss to the start of AT (acupuncture therapy).” For the patients that showed significant improvement, start of acupuncture treatment was within an average of 51 days from the onset of hearing loss. For the group that did not respond, the average was 167 days between onset of the illness and the beginning of acupuncture care. Variables that did not affect the outcome: vertigo, presence of hypertension, gender.
Acupuncture was administered on average of two times per week. The needles were 40mm in length with a 0.25mm diameter. The needles were inserted to a depth of 10 – 30mm until a needling sensation of soreness, numbness or distention was perceived at the acupuncture point. The acupuncture point selections were made from the following primary points: GV14, GV15, GV16, GB20, GB21, BL10, SI4, SI15. Supplementary points were: TB21, TB22, SI19, GB2, ST7, UB2, LI20, GV20, EX-HN3, KI10, LR8, LU8, LR4, LI4, LR3, and ST36. The needles were retained for 10 minutes. The researchers note “our findings indicate that AT (acupuncture therapies) have some effects on ISSHL (idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss) even for the patients who failed to respond to conventional therapies.”
Effects and Prognostic Factors of Acupuncture Treatment for Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss. Kyu Seok Kim and Hae Jeong Nam. Department of Ophthalmology & Otorhinolaryngology, College of Oriental Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea. 2011.