Condition Treated / Pain Conditions


Tinnitus and Deafness


Tinnitus refers to noises in one ear or both ears. Tinnitus can be divided into deficiency or excess syndrome. In general, a sudden attack of tinnitus, as loud as the sound of tides, which cannot be reduced or can be aggravated by pressing the ears, indicates the excess syndrome, caused by abundant fire in the liver and gallbladder, which disturbs the ears. A gradual attack of tinnitus, as low as the sound of cicada, which can be reduced or stopped by pressing the ears, suggests the deficiency syndrome, caused by yin deficiency of the liver and kidney and upward disturbance of liver yang, deficiency of kidney essence, lack of marrow and malnutrition of ears, or deficiency of spleen qi.

Tinnitus and Deafness

Tinnitus and deafness are auditory disturbances caused by many kinds of diseases. Tinnitus is
characterized by a ringing sound in the ears resembling the chirp of a cicada and the ocean tide,
while deafness is complete hearing loss. Tinnitus is often the first sign of imminent deafuess. Due to the similarities in etiology and acupuncture treatment of these two conditions, they are discussed together. In western medicine, deafness is due to the damage of the auditory nerve, certain nerve-damaging medications or congenital auditory defects, whereas tinnitus is due to the spasms of blood vessels supplying the inner ear.

Causes and Pathogenesis of the Tinnitus and Deafness

The cause of tinnitus and deafuess can be classified into two types, namely internal and external
causes. The internal cause usually involves emotional activities such as anger, fright and
fear leading to the reverse movement of wind and fire of the liver and gallbladder, leading
to the blockage of the shaoyang channels. The retention of phlegm and heat can also stifle the
clear orifices. Sometimes the deficient kidney-qi and insufficiency of the liver and kidney
esseq.ce leads to the malnutrition of the ear. The external cause usually refers to the
contraction of wind which can block the clear orifices. Even a sudden explosion or loud noise can
directly damage the ears.

Identification Patterns Of Tinnitus and Deafness

Chief symptoms Loss of hearing or continuous ringing in the ears like the chirp of a cicada, or
the blowing of the wind, or the sound of thunder or a whistling sound.
The pattern of exuberance of the liver and gallbladder fire is accompanied by an expanding headache, flushed face, dry throat, irritability and a wiry pulse. The pattern of phlegm-heat stagnation can manifest as a sensation of fullness in the chest, copious phlegm production, and a rapid, slippery pulse. The pattern of exterior wind invasion is accompanied by an aversion to cold, fever, and a floating pulse. The pattern of kidney­ qi deficiency can manifest as vertigo, soreness and aching of the loins and knee joints, lassitude and a thready, weak pulse. The pattern of deficiency of the kidney and liver is accompanied by a vexing heat in the chest, palms and soles, night sweating, tinnitus especially at night, a red tongue with a scant coating, and a thready, rapid pulse.

What Is The Treatment Of Acupuncture For Tinnitus and Deafness?

(1) Primary treatment
Principal points Yifeng (TE 17), Tinghui (GB 2), Xiaxi (GB 43), and Zhongzhu (TE 3).
Supplementary points Add Taichong(LR 3) and Qiuxu(GB 40) for the pattern of exuberance of the
liver and gallbladder fire; add Fenglong (ST 40) and Laogong (PC 8) for phlegm-heat stagnation;
add Waiguan (TE 5), Fengchi (GB 20), and Hegu (LI 4) for the external wind invasion; add Shenshu
(BL 23), Zhaohai (KI 6), and Qihai (CV 6) for the deficiency of the kidney qi; and add Shenshu
(BL 23), Ganshu (BL 18), and Taixi (KI 3) for the deficiency of the liver and kidney.

Explanation The shaoyang channels of the hand and foot travel to the ear region, so points of the
shaoyang channels such as Zhongzhu (TE 3) and Yifeng (TE 17) of the hand-shaoyang, and Tinghui (GB 2) and Xiaxi (GB 43) of the foot-shaoyang, are used to communicate with the qi of the upper and lower body, and dredge the qi circulation in the shaoyang channels.

(2) Alternate methods of treatment
Auricular acupuncture Points Heart (CO 15), Liver (CO 12), Kidney (CO 10), Internal Ear (LO 6)
and Subcortex (AT 4) are selected for treatment using a moderate­ stimulation with filiform and
embedding-needles. A strong stimulation is suitable for sudden deafness.
Scalp acupuncture Select bilateral Posterior Temporal Line (MS 11), insert the needle
transversely along the scalp, manipulate the needle using a fast rotation, and retain the needle
for 20 minutes. Treatment is conducted once daily or every other day.

Acupuncture and moxibustion treatments can produce a certain degree of efficacy for tinnitus and
deafness. However, they are ineffective if the condition is caused by damage to the ear drum.


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