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A preliminary study by Chinese researchers suggests that acupuncture can improve tinnitus symptoms by modulating imbalance of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Thirty patients were randomly assigned to either a deep acupuncture (DA) group or a shallow acupuncture (SA) group. Each patient received six acupuncture sessions over three weeks. The same acupoints were used in the two groups Baihui DU-20, Shenting DU-24 and bilateral Waiguan SJ-5 and Zulinqi GB-41. Additionally, Tinghui GB-2 was needled bilaterally for patients with bilateral tinnitus, and on the affected side only for patients with unilateral tinnitus. Needling depth was 10-30 mm in the DA group, versus 2 mm in the SA group. The results indicated that deep acupuncture improved reported tinnitus symptoms compared with shallow acupuncture. DA also led to changes in heart rate variability parameters that suggested it was able to regulate balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the ANS. Previous studies have shown that tinnitus patients exhibit impairments in sympathovagal balance, and so this could represent a mechanism of action for acupuncture on tinnitus symptoms.

Influence of Acupuncture on Autonomic Balance in Adult Tinnitus Patients: An Exploratory Study. Curr Med Sci. 2019 Dec;39(6):947-953.