Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture Provides Tinnitus Relief Finding


Acupuncture alleviates tinnitus. Researchers from Shanxi Hospital of Acupuncture and Moxibustion and Shanxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine conducted a clinical trial observing the effects of treating tinnitus with regular manual acupuncture and that of electroacupuncture. The results show that the addition of the electrical stimulation yielded superior patient outcomes. [1]

Upon completion of the treatment, the total efficacy rate of the electroacupuncture group (86.67%) was higher than that of the manual acupuncture control group (70%). The total efficacy rate was calculated based on the TEQ (Tinnitus Evaluation Questionnaire) and blood flow velocity of vertebral and basilar arteries. Figures for both parameters demonstrated improvements, while greater changes were observed in the electroacupuncture group.

Patients were randomized into a manual acupuncture control group and an electroacupuncture group. Within the electroacupuncture group, 18 cases were males and 12 were females. Age range was 24 to 66. Mean age was 45.87 ±11.52 years. Course of disease ranged from three to 21 months. Average course of disease was 8.73 ±4.26. A total of 17 patients had tinnitus on one side and 13 cases had it on both sides. Based on a tinnitus severity scale used in the study, 12 were level 2, 11 were level 3, and seven were level 4. Within the control group, 16 cases were males and 14 were females. Age range was 21 to 62 years. Mean age was 41.87 ±12.70 years. Course of disease ranged from one month to 23 months. Average course of disease was 10.40 ±5.71 months. A total of 17 patients had tinnitus on one side and 13 cases had this on both sides. A total of 11 were level 2,9 were level 3, and 10 were level 4.

All patients experienced a ringing in the ears, even though no external sound was present. Symptoms, including loss of hearing, headaches, and anxiety were prevalent in patients. The condition affected patients’ life to some degree. Audiological exams confirmed the condition. None of the patients had any ear injury history or any major ear lesions.

Both groups received manual acupuncture. Point selection was based on a integral protocol combining local points and relevant distal acupoints. Mild reinforcing-attenuating manipulation was adopted. Patients took a supine position. To administer treatment at the local ear region acupoints, patients kept their mouths open during insertion. Needles were perpendicularly inserted. Insertion length was up to 25 mm. The local ear region acupoints were:

  • TB21 (Ermen)
  • SI19 (Tinggong)
  • GB2 (Tinghui)
  • TB17 (Yifeng)

At HealthCMi, we find this acupoint selection consistent with both traditional and modern standards of acupuncture. Distal acupoints were as follows:

  • TB3 (Zhongzhu)
  • TB5 (Waiguan)
  • GB43 (Xiaxi)
  • KD3 (Taixi)

Electroacupuncture was performed in addition to the above manual acupuncture for the electroacupuncture group. A supine position was taken by the patients. The following points received electroacupuncture:

  • TB21 (Ermen)
  • SI19 (Tinggong)
  • GB2 (Tinghui)
  • TB17 (Yifeng)

Upon achieving a deqi sensation, TB21 (Ermen) was connected to GB2 (Tinghui). TB17 (Yifeng) was connected to SI19 (Tinggong). Plus, the center of the vertigo auditory area (scalp acupuncture), which is 1.5 cm above the ear tip and stretches 4 centimeters in width, also received electrical stimulation. Needles were placed at either end of the region pointing toward each other with a 15 degree angle to the skin surface. Insertion length was 2 centimeters. A disperse-dense wave was used and the frequency was set to 20 Hz. Moderate stimulation was applied.

At HealthCMi, we have been actively involved in the treatment of hearing related disorders. This study is consistent with others that we have reviewed in its similarity of local point selection. The nuance of adding electroacupuncture is a stand out feature of this particular piece of research. The results indicate that electroacupuncture enhances patient outcomes.

[1] Wu Jinhui, Gao Shan, Clinical Observation on Treating Tinnitus with Electroacupuncture, Journal of Practical Traditional Chinese Medicine, 2023.Vol.39, 1.


Acupuncture Continuing Education Credits