September 19, 2023

Acupuncture May Help with Tinnitus

There was an interesting study published in 2020 that evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating tinnitus by evaluating 8 randomized controlled trials involving 504 patients. Although there was no difference between study and control groups on a visual analog scale (VAS), positive effects on secondary outcomes, tinnitus handicap inventory (THI) and tinnitus severity index (TSI), were seen.

In these studies, the most commonly used traditional acupuncture points utilized were:

• GB-2 (Tinghui)
• SI-19 (Tinggong)
• TE-21 (Ermen)
• TE-17 (Yifeng)
• GB-20 (Fengchi)
• TE-3 (Zhongzhu)

The frequency of acupuncture ranged from twice a week to once a day. The needle retention time ranged from 20 to 40 minutes. The total number of acupuncture treatments ranged from 10 to 25. The course of acupuncture treatment ranged from 20 days to 2 months.

Only one study mentioned follow-up which reported that 3 weeks after the end of treatment, the differences in the VAS and TSI scores between the experimental and control groups were still significant.

Acupuncture can certainly be considered for those suffering from tinnitus, but like other tinnitus treatments, it may help some folks, but not others.

Other types of tinnitus treatments that may be helpful can be found here including custom white noise, notched audio, cr-neuromodulation, etc.


Acupuncture for tinnitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Acupuncture in Medicine. 2021;39(4):264-271. doi:10.1177/0964528420938380

Acupuncture for chronic nonpulsatile tinnitus: a randomized clinical trial. Caspian J Intern Med 2018; 9: 38–45.

Effect of traditional Chinese acupuncture on severe tinnitus: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical investigation with open therapeutic control. Br J Audiol 1998; 32: 197–204.

The effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment for tinnitus: a randomized controlled trial using (99m)Tc-ECD SPECT. Eur Radiol 2016; 26: 3234–3242.

The effects of acupuncture on the inner ear originated tinnitus. J Res Med Sci 2011; 16: 1217–1223.

Cervical tinnitus treated by acupuncture based on “jin” theory: a clinical observation. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu 2016; 36: 369–372.

Clinical observation on acupuncture treatment of tinnitus under the theory of kidney and sanjiao communication. Shanghai J Acupunct Moxibustion 2016; 35: 440–442.

Clinical observation on warm acupuncture for tinnitus. Shanghai J Acupunct Moxibustion 2014; 33: 1124–1126.

Clinical observation on tinnitus of up disturbance of liver excessive fire type with twirling-reducing method of acupuncture. Liaoning J Tradit Chin Med 2017; 44: 149–151.
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

Banner Map

Pediatric Neck Masses

Adult Neck Mass Workup