About 48 million Americans have some form of hearing loss, and even more have tinnitus, the ringing, or hissing that is heard only by the person with the condition.
The most common hearing loss treatment is wearing hearing aids, which help you hear all the sounds around you. But that hasn’t stopped some people trying natural hearing loss and tinnitus treatments, such as using herbal remedies, quitting smoking, or changing their diet.
One notable alternative treatment for hearing loss and tinnitus is Acupuncture. But what is it, and does it work?
A Chinese tradition
Acupuncture is a method of promoting natural healing and function of the body by inserting thin needles and administering precise heat and electrical impulses. Used for centuries in the East, Acupuncture is gaining traction in the Western world as a natural solution to physical discomfort or pain control.
Once different acupuncture points are inserted, the nervous system is believed to be activated, releasing chemicals to the muscles, the spinal cord, and the brain. According to adherents, these chemicals trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones, which stimulate the body’s natural healing ability.
Can it help with hearing loss?
Acupuncture is said to relieve tension, reduce back pain, and increase levels of energy. But can it treat hearing loss? A recent study suggested that for some individuals with hearing loss, Acupuncture may improve hearing. The authors of this data analysis, however, do contend that their work is based on small sample sizes.
However, another study found that Acupuncture was effective in treating sudden losses of hearing. The results found that 63.5 percent of participants experienced improvements in their hearing.
Despite these two studies, the jury is still out on whether Acupuncture is undoubtedly useful in treating hearing loss. The bottom line is that more work is required to determine if Acupuncture is an effective hearing loss treatment.
Can Acupuncture help treat tinnitus?
Tinnitus can’t be cured, and recovery programs are usually only designed to relieve the symptoms as best as possible. Those who practice acupuncture point to the gallbladder or kidneys as a potential source of the ringing sounds. Such areas are often targeted by acupuncturists to relieve symptoms.
As with hearing loss, it is difficult to say if Acupuncture improves tinnitus, and the research is still limited. Acupuncture may, however, help relieve stress, which is a known trigger for tinnitus. Stress and tinnitus are closely related, and higher stress can result in more tinnitus symptoms. Reducing stress levels will have a beneficial impact on tinnitus, which will offer some tinnitus relief.
Is Acupuncture Effective?
As we have shown, scientists have insufficient evidence to know whether Acupuncture is effective in treating hearing loss and tinnitus, and we don’t know for sure yet. The best response medical professionals have at the moment is that it could have some benefits, but more research is needed. In the meantime, if you want to try Acupuncture for hearing loss or tinnitus, review any advice or questions with your doctor, and ask for help in locating a licensed acupuncturist.
Make sure you visit us for a thorough hearing test before you try Acupuncture to learn more about your hearing condition, and find out the cause of your hearing loss.
Hearing aids are your best shot
Although Acupuncture is not yet proven to work, the latest research shows that hearing aids remain one of the most effective ways to treat hearing loss and tinnitus.
Although they aren’t the silver bullet many with hearing loss are looking for, they have helped improve the lives of many by helping to restore the connections those with hearing loss have with their loved ones.
If you’re experiencing tinnitus, the most common way hearing aids can benefit you by slowly amplifying background noise to help minimize tinnitus sounds. This means that your brain can concentrate on the sounds you want to hear, rather than the tinnitus itself.
We’re excited to help you find a hearing aid that works for you. It all starts with a hearing test. Contact us today to set up an appointment.