Chinese Medicine and Tinnitus

Tinnitus is a ringing, buzzing, or hissing sound in the ears, which may be chronic or come and go. It is usually worse at night and can interfere with sleep.

Historically it was most common among the elderly and veterans. It has been reported that 25 million Americans experience this condition.

There is a wide array of possible causes of this condition, including exposure to loud, explosive noises or music, a side effect of medication (i.e., aspirin), dental work, whiplash, and a possible nutrient deficiency to name a few.

Western medicine does not have a lot to offer to people suffering from tinnitus. They suggest listening to white noise to try to sleep, exercising, and practicing relaxation techniques. Though some of these suggestions may help, they do not address the root cause of the problem.

When we look at tinnitus through the lens of Chinese Medicine, it is thought to be associated with weak kidney energy as well as an imbalance in gallbladder and liver meridians. Though acupressure has some patterns which address tinnitus, acupuncture has been more effective with this condition, since the acupuncturist can prescribe herbs and do an in-depth look at the person’s lifestyle and diet.

In both acupressure and acupuncture, the therapist will check the person’s pulse and assess their energy imbalance. There is no cookie-cutter protocol, each person is treated for their specific imbalance.

To summarize treatment:

  • If you are taking medication, check the side effects. Aspirin, if taken in excess can cause tinnitus.
  • Avoid loud noises.
  • Craniosacral therapy can improve the flow of cerebral spinal fluid and may improve tinnitus if this is the cause.
  • Have your blood pressure checked. Many people with high blood pressure experience tinnitus.
  • Manage your stress with exercise and meditation.
  • Have your energy balanced by an acupressurist, or in more persistent cases see an acupuncturist.
  • Ginkgo biloba is an herbal remedy that increases blood flow to the brain. It may be helpful if your tinnitus is due to circulation problems.