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Acupuncture May Be an Effective Treatment for Tinnitus

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What Is Tinnitus? 

Tinnitus is characterized by a ringing, chirping, whistling, hissing, or buzzing sensation in the ears. The noise can be continuous, or may come and go. In most cases, the noise is worse when background noise is low. In rare cases, the noise beats in sync with the person’s heart. This condition is known as pulsatile tinnitus. 

Tinnitus is not an illness, but an indication that something is wrong with the auditory system. 

It is estimated that around 15-20% of the U.S. population experience some form of tinnitus. Acupuncturists in Contra Costa County are familiar with using acupuncture to help their patients recover from a myriad of conditions.


In most cases, tinnitus is caused by an underlying condition, including an ear injury or age-related hearing loss. In other cases, tinnitus develops as a result of a problem affecting the circulatory system. 

Other risk factors include head or neck injuries, ear infections, and exposure to a sudden or very loud noise such as an explosion. NSAIDs, certain antibiotics, cancer drugs, antimalarial drugs, and antidepressants may cause or worsen tinnitus. If a drug causes tinnitus, the unwanted noise typically disappears when the person stops taking it. 


It is not unusual for people with tinnitus to hearing different phantom noises. Some people with tinnitus may hear the noise in one ear, whileothers may hear it in both ears. The noises may vary in pitch. In severe cases, tinnitus can interfere with sleep and cause concentration problems.

 Acupuncture for Tinnitus: How It Works?

Acupuncture can reduce tinnitus symptoms. It is particularly effective in cases where hypertension is the underlying cause of tinnitus. Stress can cause the onset or worsen tinnitus. Acupuncture is known to have a very calming effect. It can help relieve stress, thereby reducing the risk for tinnitus. 

Chronic pain is one of the most common causes of stress. Pain can trigger stress, which in turn can cause tinnitus. If you have chronic pain, your acupuncturist will come up with a plan to relieve the pain. 

Your acupuncturist may also recommend making exercise a part of your life and reducing your intake of spicy or greasy foods that cause stress and inflammation. 

Many studies suggest acupuncture may reduce the intensity of tinnitus. A 2018 study concluded that acupuncture could help decrease the intensity and frequency of tinnitus sounds. 

The Monarch Acupuncture team consists of certified Contra Costa County acupuncturists. We make empathy a priority and strive to improve our patients’ quality of life. Schedule an appointment today.