Tinnitus, especially persistent tinnitus, is an annoying condition. The common causes include exposure to loud noises, aging (presbycusis), middle ear infection and ototoxic medications.
There is not any well-established method to diminish the ring itself, however, cognitive-behavior therapy is effective in some patients to facilitate them function better with the condition. Hearing aids are also used to relieve the condition.
Acupuncture can treat various conditions causing tinnitus effectively, which relieves the ringing itself. For instance, middle ear effusion and/or Eustachian tube dysfunction respond to acupuncture very well. In cases of aging-related tinnitus, acupuncture can also relieve the symptoms.
Objects vary in different underlying causes. In tinnitus related to middle ear conditions and Meniere disease, complete relief or cure can be expected. In aging-related tinnitus, significant relief is a reasonable outcome. The complete disappearance of tinnitus is difficult to achieve. The experience with ototoxic drug-related tinnitus and hearing loss is lacking, and the outcome is difficult to predict.
The protocol to have 8 treatments in 4 weeks. Patients are recommended to have hearing tests and wax removal before the start of treatment.
Acupuncture is a well-tolerated safe treatment. Patients experience pain less than intra-muscular injection and blood tests. However, patients may experience acupuncture-specific sensation, De Qi, which might feel like vague tingling and lasts seconds.
N.B. In patients with middle ear conditions, a technique with strong stimulation may be used. Local anaesthesia can be offered, but the injection fo anaesthesia agent may cause more discomfort compared to needling.
1st & 2nd treatment: $250
3rd - 8th treatment: $200
Medicare rebate: $107.25 x 8
Total out-of-pocket: $ 842
* Patients may be eligible to get a higher rebate if the Extended Medicare Safety Net (EMSN) threshold is met. The total out-of-pocket cost may be as low as $192. Please contact Medicare regarding EMSN.