Tinnitus is the sensation of hearing abnormal ringing sounds in the ear when there is no external sound present. The noise can either be continuous or intermittent and the volume and pitch can vary depending on the individual. Tinnitus is a symptom, not a disease and the cause may arise from any issues in the hearing system. According to National Institute of Deafness and Communicable Diseases (NIDCD), tinnitus is estimated to affect 10% of the adult population or about 25 million people in the United States. Western medicine treatments for tinnitus are limited to ear wax removal, changing the medications that cause tinnitus, dental treatments for TMJ disorder or antidepressants to help with stress and anxiety that can worsen the condition. Treatment for tinnitus due to aging remains a big challenge.
Some of the causes for tinnitus are:
- The most common cause of tinnitus is loss of hearing due to the natural aging process. It affects most adults especially after age 60.
- Neck or jaw problems such as Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder can cause tinnitus.
- Blockage of ear due to an excess ear wax buildup, an ear infection, or a rare tumor in the brain known as acoustic neuroma.
- Certain drugs – most notably Aspirin, some antibiotics, antidepressants, sedatives, anti-inflammatory may cause side effects of tinnitus.
- Meniere’s disease.
- Exposure to loud noise on a long term basis.
Acupuncture has shown to be effective for alleviating the condition of tinnitus. The Zhang research team in Sichuan,China has found a significant improvement with use of electrical stimulation to acupuncture points. Conventional manual acupuncture therapy was used for comparison and was found to have 64.5% total effectiveness rate. The electroacupuncture was found to have 89.6% total effectiveness rate. The results are very significant given the condition of tinnitus is very difficult to treat. However, despite the research results, the clinical experience is not as good as the research results. Very few Chinese medicine practitioners can treat tinnitus effectively.
Tinnitus & loss of hearing is one of the Dr. Liu’s specialties. He combines Chinese medicine philosophy, meridian theory, scalp acupuncture anatomy, myofascial technique, induction methods of Qi Gong, with anatomy and neuroscience of Western medicine. He uses experience points from his 45 years of clinical experience and has found new discovery points which he uses with success. He also uses multiple techniques to adjust and align the adjacent region of the neck and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) which is closely linked to the ear hearing system. Dr. Liu has a success rate of over 90% for treating tinnitus and loss of hearing. He is well-known in the field for his clinical specialties.