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Tinnitus – ringing in the ears, alternative treatment with TCM

Tinnitus is the sensation of sound when no external sound is actually present. The sensation may be intermittent or continuous, occur in one or both ears, and the sound may be high or low. Tinnitus sounds have been described as whistling, clicking, piercing, booming, buzzing, throbbing, hissing, and in many other ways. The volume of the sound can fluctuate, but is usually most noticeable at night or during quiet periods. More than 340 million people worldwide have tinnitus, and the number is still increasing for unknown reasons. Although this disease could be associated with hearing loss, approximately 40% of tinnitus sufferers never lose their hearing, even in chronic cases.

Tinnitus can be a temporary or permanent problem. Noise can affect concentration and cause insomnia. On a chronic level, it can be associated with anxiety and depression. It occurs more often in people over 60 years of age.


Common symptoms

  • Persistent sound in the ears, such as ringing or other high or low sounds. A rhythmic sound is also a common symptom.

  • Sensation of the affected ear or both ears.

  • It often happens that in patients the ear congestion and the sound appear at the same time.

Tinnitus often affects the quality of a patient's hearing, making effective treatment even more important.

Causes of tinnitus


The exact cause of its occurrence has not yet been discovered. Most reports of tinnitus are 'subjective tinnitus', meaning that the sound in the head or ears can only be perceived by the patient.

Other common causes of tinnitus:

  • Significant exposure to noise.

  • Ear inflammation.

  • A side effect of certain medications.

  • Benign tumor on the auditory nerve.

  • A symptom of Meniere's disease - a disease that affects hearing and balance.

  • A symptom of otosclerosis. It is a hereditary disease in which the bones in the middle ear grow too much and block hearing.

  • Head and neck injuries.

  • Temporomandibular joint (jaw joint) syndrome and other neck and jaw problems.

  • Older people are more likely to develop tinnitus.

Treatment of tinnitus


There are currently no scientifically proven treatments for most types of tinnitus. However, there are drugs that redirect attention and affect emotions, and/or cognitive therapy.

Understanding tinnitus with TCM

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), ringing in the ears or tinnitus a disease most closely associated with the renal system, as the ear is its external opening.
The five main TCM causes of tinnitus are:

  1. Insufficient essential kidney energy.

  2. Hyperactive liver fire.

  3. Accumulation of mucus (polluted water in the body).

  4. Blood stasis, which can also be associated with food stagnation, which is the result of stagnation of Qi energy in the stomach and poor circulation.

  5. Spleen Qi Deficiency.

It is essential to distinguish between two different types of tinnitus:deficientandredundant. In some more difficult cases, there is a possibility that it is a mixture of both systems.
A redundant guy: The cause is the increasing fire of the liver and gall bladder. It usually comes on suddenly and involves loud noises, sometimes accompanied by headache and dizziness.
The flawed type: The cause is a lack of essential kidney energy. The disease appears gradually. The sound is low and sometimes resembles the sound of rushing water. Some patients experience emptiness in the head, memory loss, blurred vision, chronic lower back pain, menopausal syndromes and poor sexual function.

Tinnitus treatment with Chinese herbs

After a careful and careful examination, the patient is prescribed a combination of Chinese herbs, which are used to determine the energy levels in individual systems. An herb that helps one person may not help another as their situations are different.
Each herb contains certain energy and enters certain energy channels. If tinnitus occurs due to a lack of essential energies, herbs that raise energy are used. Prescribed herbs improve blood circulation and reduce fatigue. However, if the cause of the disease is excess energy, herbs are used for cleansing and calming.


Read more aboutnature of herbs.

Acupuncture for tinnitus


The study (Acupuncture for chronic nonpulsatile tinnitus: A randomized clinical trial[1]) found that acupuncture is effective in reducing the loudness and severity of tinnitus and may be useful for the treatment of non-pulsatile chronic tinnitus. Another study also (Acupuncture for tinnitus immediate relief[2]) showed that sounds were significantly less frequent in both groups after needle insertion. In the experimental group, the reduction of sounds was greater than in the control group.

Common acupuncture points used to treat tinnitus are:

GB 20- "wind pond" - for the elimination of a fast and changing pathogen (in TKM, a pathogen of a wind nature). This point can be used to regulate problems with the head, brain (seizures, memory, mental/neurological disorders), face, throat and sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue). We can also treat headache (especially occipital) and hypertension (especially with excess liver fire).

TH 21- "ear gate" - for direct stimulation and improvement of local circulation. With this point, we can regulate problems with the ears, which can be the result of both excess and deficient nature. It can also alleviate problems with temporomandibular joint syndrome and toothache in the upper part of the jaw.
SP 6- "intersection of the three yins" - for consolidating soothing energy. It is often used to treat insomnia, palpitations, and other anxiety-related problems, and to control vertigo and hypertension in the deficient type of tinnitus.

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