Research: FURUGARD and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 34

Abstract

FURUGARD and colleagues, Norrlands Universitetssjukhus, Umea Norway studied the therapeutic effects of acupuncture upon tinnitus.

Background

Methodology

The authors compared the effects of a 3-month course of 15 acupuncture treatments with individualised physiotherapy, upon the severity of tinnitus and quality of life (QOL) in 22 patients suffering from disabling tinnitus. The study was a prospective, randomised cross-over trial, with follow-up for one year following the final treatment. Treatment results were evaluated by patients visual analogue scale (VAS) ratings, and replies to questionnaires, including the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) which assessed the impact of tinnitus upon differing aspects of QOL.

Results

The baseline scores from the NHP indicated that tinnitus patients manifested pronounced depressive characteristics. Acupuncture yielded immediate relief, both in respect to loudness and disturbance of the tinnitus, and in resulted in significant improvement in QOL for three months following treatment conclusion. Individualised physiotherapy treatment yielded no significant reduction in tinnitus loudness nor disturbance due to tinnitus, not improvement in NHP scores, although many patients in the subgroup with concurrent muscle tension reported beneficial effects of physiotherapy. However, annoyance due to tinnitus and AOL scores returned to pre-treatment levels at one-year follow-up in both treatment groups.

Conclusion

These results indicate that tinnitus patients manifest depressive characteristics and that acupuncture may result in temporary improvement in tinnitus relief and QOL.

References

Furugard S et al. Acupuncture worth trying in severe tinnitus. Lakartidningen 95(17 ): 1922-8. Apr 22 1998.

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