This study investigated the effect, onset, duration of action, and short-term outcomes of acupuncture therapy for treating patients with severe chronic subjective tinnitus. This randomized controlled trial evaluated patients with chronic, idiopathic, and severe tinnitus. A total of 105 participants were divided into 2 groups using a randomization method: a study group who received verum acupuncture therapy ( = 53) and a sham acupuncture group ( = 52). Ten acupuncture sessions were given over 5 weeks. After treatment, each participant was monitored for up to 3 months according to changes on a visual analogue Scale (VAS), and Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI), and Pure-Tone Audiometry and Speech Discrimination (Interacoustics AC-40, Denmark) scores. The VAS and THI scores were evaluated. A statistically significant difference was noted between the sham and verum acupuncture groups at post-treatment follow-up ( < 0.001). Decreases in the THI and VAS scores became significant in the second week of treatment ( < 0.001 and  < 0.001, respectively), but these scores increased again in the third month post-treatment ( < 0.001 and  < 0.001, respectively). Acupuncture is an effective treatment for patients with severe chronic subjective tinnitus. Patient complaints, decreased beginning at the second treatment week; however, in the third post-treatment month, the complaints reappeared. Maintenance acupuncture therapy is necessary for patients with tinnitus; this approach should be investigated in future studies.
Copyright 2020, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.