We often treat people with tinnitus at Haynes Acupuncture on the Gold Coast.  We understand that it can be a distressing and frustrating condition, often affecting sleep and having an impact on mental health.

It is a poorly understood condition, and Western medicine has no therapy or drug that has eliminated tinnitus.

What causes it?

Tinnitus can have many causes:

  • Prolonged loud noises over a long period, such as working and being in loud environments can cause tinnitus and hearing loss.
  • Trauma to the eardrum
  • Neck stiffness and tightness can affect the ear and lead to tinnitus
  • Upper respiratory tract infections can cause ear pain, blockages and lead to tinnitus
  • Stress is something we see a lot in the clinic, both chronic and short-term, and this can amplify tinnitus and make people less able to cope with it
  • Age-related hearing loss and tinnitus
  • Some medication use, such as antibiotics, cancer drugs, and high doses of aspirin, can cause tinnitus as a side effect.
  • Traumatic injuries to the head and neck
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders: Issues with the jaw joint can affect the ear structures and cause tinnitus.
  • Cardiovascular issues such as high blood pressure that affect blood flow can lead to tinnitus

cartoon tinnitus acupuncture gold coast

How can acupuncture help, and how is it treated?

At Haynes Acupuncture, every patient has individualised treatments and a treatment plan.

We use various methods to work out the best treatment for each patient, including pulse and abdominal diagnosis and questioning.

We often find that treating the sympathetic nervous system (which is the fight and flight response) can reduce the intensity of tinnitus, as many people in today’s society are stressed so calming the mind and relaxing the body can be very helpful.

Other areas treated can be the ears themselves, the neck, jaw and upper back.

Acupuncture may also assist the immune system treat lingering pathogens after an illness, and strengthen immunity.

How does Chinese Medicine understand tinnitus?

In Chinese Medicine theory, the kidney meridian is often the key meridian related to tinnitus.  It relates to the ears (as well as the knees and lower back); the kidney meridian is affected most by stress and fear.  Furthermore, their kidney energy becomes weaker when people age, so nourishing this meridian may assist with tinnitus.

If people have been sick, the Lung and Large Intestine meridian may be treated as they relate to the immune system.

The Liver and Gall Bladder meridians may be involved with someone prone to irritability and frustration, resulting in rising heat in the body and causing tight muscles in the neck and shoulders, which then can cause tinnitus.

How many treatments will I need?

Each patient will be advised of an individual treatment plan. The general rule is that the longer you have had the problem, the more treatments you will need.  So, for a recent illness that has affected the ears, you may need a shorter course of treatments (4-6), but for someone with chronic stress and neck and shoulder problems, you may need longer (6-10).  Treatments are most often weekly, then as the condition improves, you may need them less frequently to maintain progress, for example, fortnightly. After which, they may be drawn out to monthly for patients who need regular ongoing treatment.

We find the best results and ongoing benefits are seen with patients who commit to a course of treatments. In studies that show that acupuncture may assist tinnitus, the study usually incorporates at least 10-12 treatments.

Consistency is key for results.

Case Study

 A male patient in his 60s presented to the clinic with chronic, high-pitched tinnitus for 12 years.  It was having a detrimental effect on his sleep and mental health.  After 4 treatments, the tinnitus reduced to 50% intensity, and after 6 treatments, the tinnitus was a fraction of what it was initially.  The patient also reported significant improvements in energy, sleep, and digestion.  The patient now visits monthly for maintenance treatments.

What do the studies say?

 There is some evidence to show that acupuncture may help in the treatment of tinnitus.

 A Randomized controlled trial (1) from 2012 found that acupuncture may reduce unilateral tinnitus on a long–term basis.  In this trial, participants received 10 sessions of acupuncture over 5 weeks and followed up 3 months later; they were found to have an improvement in their levels of tinnitus.

Another Randomized controlled trial (2) published in 2016 investigated the effects of acupuncture on tinnitus. The study involved 50 participants, split into two groups of 25.  One group again received 10 sessions of acupuncture over a 5-week period, while the other group had no treatment. Researchers found that the group receiving acupuncture had a statistically significant improvement by reducing the level of tinnitus intensity and improving the quality of life for people with tinnitus.



  1. Jeon, SW, Kim, KS & Nam, HJ 2012, ‘Long-Term Effect of Acupuncture for Treatment of Tinnitus: A Randomized, Patient- and Assessor-Blind, Sham-Acupuncture-Controlled, Pilot Trial.’, Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, vol. 18, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., New Rochelle, New York, no. 7, pp. 693–699 7p, <www.ebscohost.com>.
  2. Yugi Doi, M, Sayomi Tano, S, Rocha Schultz, A, Borges, R, Lozza de Moraes Marchiori, L,‘Effectiveness of acupuncture therapy as treatment for tinnitus: a randomized controlled trial’, Brazilian Journal of Otorhinolaryngology, Volume 82, Issue 4, 2016, Pages 458-465, ISSN 1808-8694, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bjorl.2016.04.002 (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1808869416300660)