Can acupuncture cure tinnitus?


Quick Answer

Acupuncture treatment for tinnitus, the presence of an often buzzing or ringing sound with no external stimulus, has proven no more effective than placebos, according to Harvard Medical School. The most effective treatments are behavioral therapies that teach sufferers to ignore or think differently about their condition; relaxation therapies, on the assumption tinnitus is worsened by stress; and masking devices such as hearing aids that generate low-level white noise.

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Full Answer

As of January 2015, there are no known cures, pharmaceutical or otherwise, for tinnitus. Along with electromagnetic fields or herbs such as gingko biloba, acupuncture is among a wide variety of attempted tinnitus treatments. Even the British Acupuncture Council admits there have been no significant trials confirming acupuncture's effectiveness in dealing with tinnitus.

The American Tinnitus Association is a bit more optimistic regarding acupuncture treatment, suggesting that acupuncture does not respond well to western-style research. This research requires a level of uniformity in testing procedures that makes acupuncture treatment, which is geared to the individual and holistic results, difficult to test. Studies to this point have also been few and small in scale. Although studies suggest positive results for tinnitus sufferers using acupuncture, the results may not be lasting. The British Tinnitus Association cites a 1998 study in which 45 percent of those tested indicated some improvement but only for a brief period.

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