Hearing loss and tinnitus aren’t just conditions that are annoying, but also capable of causing significant difficulties in daily life. Unfortunately, many people simply try to live with these conditions, ignoring the fact that there are ways to help get them under control even if doctor visits have proven unsuccessful in doing so. Let’s take a look at hearing loss and tinnitus, and see how acupuncture can help. But first, let’s go over what causes hearing loss and tinnitus, and how they affect you.
Understanding Hearing Loss
There can be many causes of hearing loss, such as aging, excessive ear wax, chronic exposure to loud noises, and more. Despite this, all hearing loss falls into one of three categories:
Sensorineural has to do with the inner ear, while conductive has to do with the middle and outer ear. Mixed, as you probably guessed, is a combination of the two. Depending on which type of hearing loss a person is suffering from, doctors will try different means of treating it.
Tinnitus is a ringing sensation in your ears. It can affect one ear, or both, depending on the circumstances. Affecting between 15 and 20% of the population, it is actually a common ailment.
What many people fail to understand though, is that tinnitus is actually not a condition in and of itself, instead, it is just a symptom of some underlying condition, such as acoustic neuroma, TMJ disorders, or exposure to loud noise. This being the case, tinnitus is typically treated by discovering and treating the true cause.
Originating in 100 BC in ancient China, acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine in which extremely thin needles are inserted into the body. This in turn affects a person’s chi, leading to a variety of effects such as reduced pain, improved vitality, and other health benefits.
While modern medicine has found no substantial proof of chi, or direct cause/effect correlations of how acupuncture works, many people still swear by it, and use it to relieve a variety of ailments. In most cases the success of acupuncture depends on the practitioner, and the nature of the ailment being treated.
Does Acupuncture Help Relieve Tinnitus and Improve Hearing?
One thing that should be made clear is that acupuncture is typically not used to treat tinnitus directly. This is because tinnitus is the symptom of some other underlying condition as previously stated. Instead, the root cause will be identified, and treated with acupuncture, relieving the tinnitus in the process. Overall reports suggest that acupuncture for tinnitus produces tangible benefits for the patient in 40 to 50% of cases.
Acupuncture for hearing loss is another matter entirely. A 2006 study was done in which acupuncture was used to treat sudden sensorineural hearing loss in patients over the course of seven days. The results showed that 63.5% of the patients experienced positive benefit from the acupuncture treatment, while only 36.5% experienced no benefit at all.
Looking at these studies and others it can be reasonably concluded that acupuncture can be effective in treating tinnitus and hearing loss in some cases. However, acupuncture isn’t for everyone, and may not produce the desired results. Whether you decide to try acupuncture or not is up to you. Like many treatment options, acupuncture may just be the cure you’re looking for, or it may be mostly ineffective.
Seeking Treatment for Hearing Loss & Tinnitus
Regardless of whether or not you’d like to try acupuncture to treat your tinnitus and/or hearing loss, you’ll want to visit a healthcare specialist for a hearing test, and get an accurate diagnosis. Remember, tinnitus must be treated based on the root cause, even if you’re using acupuncture. Don’t go to an acupuncture specialist expecting great results if you can’t tell them what’s causing your tinnitus.
As for hearing loss, you may want to start with traditional treatments first, such as getting fitted for a hearing aid. This will get you through the tough times until you decide what further treatment options you would like to pursue, such as acupuncture.
In the end, knowledge is power, so make sure you learn as much as you can about your condition, and what causes it. The more you and your healthcare providers know, the better you’ll be able to make smart decisions regarding treatment options.