Lakartidningen. 1998 Apr; 95(17): 1922-8.
[Acupuncture worth trying in severe tinnitus]
Norrlands Universitetssjukhus, UmeÃ¥.
The article consists in a report of a study of 22 patients with disabling tinnitus, performed to elucidate the effects of a 3-month course of acupuncture (15 treatments) on the severity of tinnitus and on quality of life (QOL), as compared with those of individualised physiotherapy. The study was designed as a prospective, randomised, cross-over study with a follow-up period of one year after the final treatment. Treatment effects were evaluated in terms of the patients' VAS (visual analogue scale) ratings and answers to questionnaires, including the NHP (Nottingham Health Profile), regarding the impact of tinnitus on different aspects of QOL. Baseline NHP scores showed tinnitus patients to manifest pronounced depressive characteristics. Acupuncture was found to yield immediate relief, both in terms of loudness and disturbance of the tinnitus, and significant improvement in QOL (NHP) for three months after the conclusion of treatment. Although many patients in the subgroup with concurrent muscle tension reported beneficial effects of individualised physiotherapy, such treatment yielded no significant reduction of tinnitus loudness or disturbance due to tinnitus, and no improvement in NHP scores. In both treatment groups, however, both annoyance due to tinnitus and QOL scores had returned to pretreatment levels at one-year follow-up. Thus, the results suggest tinnitus patients to manifest depressive characteristics, and that acupuncture may yield temporary improvement in terms of tinnitus relief and QOL.