An effective acupuncture treatment must comprehend the influence of various factors, but studies in this aspect remain limited. This study aimed to identify relevant factors and search for the best practical method of acupuncture for patients with tinnitus.
The study was a retrospective review of patients’ data with a prospective design who had subjective idiopathic tinnitus and received acupuncture between May 2012 and August 2017. Patients’ demographics, tinnitus characteristics, previous diseases, underlying diseases, oral habits, audiograms, acupuncture sessions, and acupoints were recorded and analyzed. A visual analog scale () was used for measuring the loudness of tinnitus, and the Clinical Global Impression-Improvement scale (CGI-I) was used for assessing the suffering of patients. Good treatment responses in patients were defined as the magnitude of change from the baseline for ≥ 30% plus CGI-I ≤ 3 points.
In total, 107 patients were enrolled. Most factors were not significantly associated with the treatment effectiveness of acupuncture in tinnitus patients. Only the combination of acupoints and the number of acupuncture sessions reached statistically significant differences. Further analyzing these two factors, we confirmed that the combination of periauricular and distal acupuncture and 17 to 24 acupuncture sessions contributed to a considerably better outcome. This result would serve as a reference for clinical acupuncturists to select an appropriate acupuncture strategy in the treatment of tinnitus.
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