Don’t Leave Your Tinnitus Untreated: Exploring the Advantages of Acupuncture

tl;drtl;dr Too long; didn't read. A quick summary for those pressed for time.

  • Tinnitus is a persistent ringing or buzzing in your ears.
  • Acupuncture doesn’t just aim to silence the noise; it addresses the root cause of the disharmony.
  • One study found that acupuncture can reduce the loudness and severity of tinnitus, while another concluded that it can noticeably improve quality of life.
  • Treating tinnitus isn’t just about reducing the noise; it could potentially safeguard your cognitive functions and memory too!
  • If you’re considering acupuncture for tinnitus, it’s important to find an experienced acupuncturist like Szenan Phua at Centre of Balance. He has developed a unique treatment method which targets the muscles around the ear to restore flow to the meridian. It’s a game-changer!
  • Wondering how many sessions you’ll need? Most people see results after just one session, but it takes around three to six sessions to optimize the effects. And if acupuncture alone isn’t enough, Chinese herbal medicine may be added for even better results!
  • Don’t let tinnitus take over your life. Take us up on our offer below:
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Tinnitus, often described as a persistent ringing, buzzing, hissing, or clicking sound in the ears, affects millions of people worldwide. This condition is not a disease itself but rather a symptom of an underlying health issue such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury, or a circulatory system disorder. It is estimated that around 10-15% of adults experience tinnitus to some degree, with its impact on quality of life varying from mild annoyance to severe disruption of daily activities.

The exact cause of tinnitus remains unknown and there is no known cure, making it particularly challenging to manage. It can lead to various emotional difficulties, including stress, anxiety, and depression. It also impacts concentration and sleep, which can further exacerbate the situation. Research has revealed that those suffering from tinnitus may be more predisposed to developing cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Given its pervasive nature and the significant toll it can take on an individual’s life, exploring various treatment options for tinnitus is crucial.

Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Holistic Approach

In the context of tinnitus, TCM does not merely aim at silencing the noise, but rather at addressing the root cause of the disharmony leading to the symptom. As we delve deeper into this topic in the following sections, we will discuss how acupuncture could play a role in managing tinnitus, the fascinating connection between tinnitus, kidney health, and brain function from a TCM perspective, and even the potential implications for preventing conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

Understanding the Role of Acupuncture in Treating Tinnitus


In the realm of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture holds a prominent position due to its unique approach and wide range of therapeutic applications. The fundamental concept behind acupuncture is the belief in the existence of a vital life force or energy known as “Qi” (pronounced ‘chee’). According to TCM, this energy circulates through our body via invisible channels called meridians. When this flow of Qi becomes blocked or disrupted, illness or discomfort can occur. Acupuncture aims to restore this balance by inserting thin needles into specific points on these meridians, thereby unblocking and re-balancing the flow of Qi.

So, how does this ancient practice apply to tinnitus, a condition characterized by the perception of noise or ringing in the ears? To understand this, it’s essential to recognize that TCM views the body as an interconnected system. Thus, a problem in one area can have consequences in another. In the case of tinnitus, TCM practitioners often identify disruptions in the kidney or liver meridians as a root cause. By targeting these areas with acupuncture, they aim to alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus.

Acupuncture and Tinnitus: What Does Science Say?

While the principles of TCM can seem abstract to those accustomed to Western medicine, there is a growing body of scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of acupuncture for various health conditions, including tinnitus. A number of studies have investigated the impact of acupuncture on tinnitus and found promising results.

One such study published in the Caspian Journal of Internal Medicine found that acupuncture is effective in reducing the loudness and severity of tinnitus and can be a useful treatment for nonpulsatile chronic tinnitus. A meta-analysis published in Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine reviewed several clinical trials and concluded that acupuncture combined with physical and mental intervention is effective at treating idiopathic tinnitus, can noticeably reduce the severity of tinnitus and the discomfort caused by it, enhance hearing levels, and improve quality of life. 

From a biomedical perspective, it is suggested that acupuncture may work by stimulating the nervous system, leading to the release of molecules that change brain chemistry and help to restore normal function. For tinnitus, this could mean reducing the overactivity in certain parts of the brain associated with tinnitus, thus decreasing the perceived sound intensity.

In essence, both from the perspective of TCM and scientific research, acupuncture can be a promising tool for managing tinnitus. It operates on the principles of restoring balance and promoting the body’s self-healing abilities, offering hope for those seeking an alternative yet effective approach to combatting tinnitus.

The Connection between Tinnitus, Kidney Health, and Brain Function

In TCM, the Kidney is considered a fundamental organ that governs water metabolism and maintains the balance of Yin and Yang, vital aspects of your body’s energy. Intriguingly, it also holds responsibility for the functioning of our ears and brain.

The Kidney’s Role in TCM and Its Connection to Hearing and Cognitive Function

In the holistic view of TCM, the Kidney does not just perform its physiological functions; it also houses our vital essence, known as “Jing”. When Jing is strong and abundant, our bodies are healthy and vigorous. However, if Jing gets depleted due to age, stress, or illness, various health issues can arise. One such issue can be tinnitus, often seen as a sign of weakened Kidney energy. The belief is that the ear is the ‘opening’ of the Kidney, hence, any dysfunction in the Kidney could impact hearing.

The Kidney and the brain are also closely connected in TCM. Brain Marrow is considered a refined form of Kidney essence, and it nourishes the brain and supports cognitive function. Depleted Kidney essence could lead to brain fog and poor memory.

Since both the ear and the brain are reliant on the healthy functioning of the Kidney, it is not uncommon to see auditory problems and cognitive function decline in the same patients.

tinnitus and cognitive function

There is a growing body of evidence suggesting a link between chronic tinnitus and memory loss. This is thought be a result of the brain’s strained resources trying to manage and suppress the constant noise, leaving less cognitive power for memory-related tasks. In some cases, this may even contribute to the development of cognitive decline or dementia in the long term.

In recent years, researchers have been exploring a potential connection between tinnitus and Alzheimer’s disease. A study published in Scientific Reports found that patients with tinnitus may have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Understanding these connections provides a new perspective on the importance of treating tinnitus. Not only can it help improve quality of life by reducing the constant noise, but it can also potentially safeguard cognitive functions and memory over time.

Treatment for Tinnitus at Centre of Balance

Tinnitus is renowned among acupuncturists for being a difficult condition to treat. The success rate for acupuncture for tinnitus varies depending on the individual and the severity of their symptoms. Some individuals may experience significant relief from their tinnitus symptoms after receiving acupuncture treatment, while others may not notice much difference.

It is also worth noting that the effectiveness of acupuncture for tinnitus may be influenced by various factors, such as the skill and experience of the acupuncturist, the frequency and duration of treatments, and the specific acupuncture points targeted during the treatment. Therefore, it is recommended to consult with an acupuncturist with a wealth of experience treating tinnitus such as Szenan Phua at Centre of Balance.

Szenan has some unique insights which have allowed him to develop more effective treatment methods and achieve impressive results. The traditional way to treat tinnitus is by treating the Kidney, as discussed above, however restoring depleted Kidney Jing can be a slow process and the results in the treatment of tinnitus can sometimes be less obvious than one would hope. Inspired by Zhu’s Scalp Acupuncture, Szenan instead treats the muscles around the ear first, relaxing them and restoring flow to the meridian. This technique has proven highly effective in his clinical practice and he teaches it to other practitioners in his New Balance Method Acupuncture course.

You may be wondering, how many acupuncture sessions will I need to treat my tinnitus? Most people will see results in their very first session, but it takes between three to six sessions to optimize results. During these first few sessions we will assess how long the treatment effect lasts – is it a few hours or a few days? – and from there decide whether acupuncture alone is a good treatment modality for you or whether the addition of Chinese herbal medicine may improve results.

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