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Thursday, 8 February 2018

How to treat tinnitus with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine?

Tiejun Tang

This week (5-11 February in 2018) is Tinnitus Awareness Week in UK. Do you have tinnitus?  It is the sensation of hearing noises in your ear or head when there is no external cause. Tinnitus is very common and is reported in all age groups. About 30% of people will experience tinnitus at some point in their lives, but approximately 10% of people who live with persistent tinnitus. The common reasons of Tinnitus might due to loud noise, stress and anxiety, ear infection,  Ménière's diseas and some other chronic diseases. Western medicine only can release some kinds of tinnitus by treat their primary diseases, but for the most of functional tinnitus no effective treatment.

Chinese medicine believes ears are closely related with kidney. Ear is the out opening of kidney. Most of tinnitus is due to kidney deficiency. This theory was proved by some research reports which I have mentioned in my previous paper.  Some high pitched tinnitus is due to liver and gallbladder fire. Tonified kidney or clean the liver and gallbladder fire can reduce or cure tinnitus. We usually use acupuncture and/or herbs to treat tinnitus.

Laureano[1] using ethyl cysteinate dimer single-photon emission computed tomography ((99m)Tc-ECD SPECT) to investigate the effect of acupuncture in patients with tinnitus. The results showed a significant improvement in Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI) scores was observed at the end of true acupuncture treatment for all domains; Doi MY[2] reported Chinese scalp acupuncture associated with bilateral electroacupuncture demonstrated, in the short term, a statistically significant improvement by reducing the level of tinnitus intensity, as well as improving the quality of life of individuals with tinnitus; A randomized controlled trial (2018) reported [3], acupuncture is effective in reducing the loudness and severity of tinnitus and can be a useful treatment for nonpulsatile chronic tinnitus.

GuShen Pian is a patent herbal tablets of kidney tonified. Zhai S use this tablets treated 120 cases of sensorineural deafness, the total effective rate of tinnitus was 89.2% and total relieved rate of tinnitus was 59.5%. The result suggests Gushen Pian had beneficial effect on deafness and tinnitus and could effectively alleviate aural fullness and insomnia [4]. Chinese herb decoction usually select a modified the formula according to individual case, it more accurate, more individualized, so it often showed a better effect than patent herbal remedies.
From this week, we should be aware of tinnitus and take care of our ears. 

Reference :
  1.  Laureano  MR. The effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment for tinnitus: a randomized controlled trial using (99m)Tc-ECD SPECT. Eur Radiol. 2016 ; 26(9):3234-42.
  2. Doi  MY. Effectiveness of acupuncture therapy as treatment for tinnitus: a randomized controlled trial. Braz J Otorhinolaryngol. 2016; 82(4):458-65
  3. Naderinabi B. Acupuncture for chronic nonpulsatile tinnitus: A randomized clinical trial. Caspian J Intern Med. 2018; 9(1):38-45.
  4. Zhai S1Clinical investigation on the beneficial effects of the Chinese medicinal herb Gushen Pian on sensorineural deafness and tinnitus. Cell Biochem  Biophys. 2013; 67(2):785-93.


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