Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) — Options for Treating Tinnitus

Discussion in 'Alternative Treatments and Research' started by Norman Ho, Feb 16, 2021.

    1. Norman Ho

      Norman Ho Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Blood Circulation
      Finally get to document my journey here. :) Hopefully it can help some of you.

      Sometime in October last year my left ear suddenly experienced tinnitus and out of 10, I would rate it a 4 in terms of loudness and I do have a very high threshold of pain. It was a high pitch continuous ringing sound. There was also a feeling of slight numbness around the left ear area at the same time. Thinking that my ear was blocked by ear wax, I went to a Doctor that specializes in ear cleaning by microsuction and got my ears properly cleaned but the tinnitus didn't stop.

      Managed to then get an appointment with an ENT specialist in November and did the routine audiogram test on both ears and the results showed my left ear had a noticeable decrease in hearing the audio beeps at the higher frequencies. which coincided with the ringing frequencies but overall still above average in terms of hearing. The ENT specialist didn't see any problems with my ears and discharged me straight away. They had no solutions for what I was going through. I did take Ginkgo Biloba but it didn't seem to work for me.

      After the ENT visit, I decided for do more research and learned that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) potentially may have treatment options for tinnitus and decided to look for a reputable TCM clinic in Singapore and managed to find one that had good reputation and reviews. For most of my life, TCM was always an option that is least taken as not many understood the science behind it so it was kind of like a leap of faith.

      In November I visited the TCM clinic and selected a good senior Chinese Physician (that is how they call TCM Doctors in Singapore) and after taking my pulse readings, tongue and ear observations and asking lots of questions, the Chinese Physician (CP) prescribed me two weeks of mixed herbs in powered form and drinkable twice a day. Initially I was skeptical as I didn't see any improvement in my tinnitus for the first 4-5 days but in the 2nd week of treatment my tinnitus went down to a 3 from a 4. And I could actually feel the left side of my face having more blood circulation. One of the most obvious improvement was on an inner swelling inside my left ear lobe that felt hard when I pressed it and had it for about a year and with the treatment the swelling started to dissipate. The skin around my ears felt less numb.

      On my 2nd visit to the TCM, I was given another 2 weeks of mixed herbs (I learned later on that the combination of herbs differs every visit) and my tinnitus improved to a 2 from a 3 by the 3rd TCM visit. On the 5th TCM visit my tinnitus was a 1 and the swelling in my left ear lobe completely disappeared. My tinnitus is currently around 0.4-0.5 out of 10 and can only hear it when the room is quiet. A slightly lowered ringing noise and the left side of my face feels normal again.

      Here are some of my learning points from my TCM Physician and online research:
      - TCM has a 5000 years of history and came about by trial and error over the centuries, experimenting with plants and herbs.
      - TCM medicine provides a long term effect as it targets the root problems versus acupuncture which is more for short term results and doesn't solve the root issues.
      - Western medicine in general treats problems in isolation (e.g., Brain -> Neurologist, Heart -> Cardiologist, Ears -> ENT etc) but TCM looks at the body as a whole; organs are interlinked.
      - Tinnitus is a symptom of an imbalance in the body according to TCM. In my case it was more about my blood circulation on the left side of my body.
      - As TCM teaching standards differs around the world, it makes a big difference finding a good TCM Physician.
      - Best to get tinnitus treated early to prevent long term ear nerve damage according to my TCM Physician.

      Here is a good YouTube video by a MIT Professor that talks about TCM:

      The Science Behind Traditional Chinese Medicine
      • Informative Informative x 1
    2. alvinm

      alvinm Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Hi Norman,

      thanks for sharing this. I seem to have very similar symptoms to what you shared and would really appreciate it if you could share which TCM you visited?

      My tinnitus started a month ago and similar to you, my doctor told me just to get used to it and put me on some steroids. Any information you could share would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    3. AUTHOR
      Norman Ho

      Norman Ho Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Blood Circulation
      Hello Alvin.

      Sorry just read your post.

      It is also a good time to update this community of my treatment progress. I continued with my TCM treatment through Chinese medicine (powdered extracts) till February 2021 where I felt the Chinese Physician wasn't able to help any further and my tinnitus condition was at 0.75-1 out of a scale of 10.

      End May I visited a popular TCM Chinese Physician B from China that specialises in acupuncture but didn't feel any improvement. After this visit, I found out that there was another Chinese Physician C who regularly appears on TV and her website mentions the treatment for tinnitus and arranged for a visit end July 2021.

      While waiting for the July appointment, I started taking Red Korean Ginseng in a gel that comes in a small tube packaging and surprised that it helped my condition pushing down my score to 0.5/10. I suspected that it was because Red Korean Ginseng helps with my blood circulation.

      At the July visit with TCM Chinese Physician C, I was given acupuncture and concentrated powdered extracts of chinese medicine that was a tiny fraction of what my first TCM Chinese Physician A gave me; half tea spoon a day versus two big sachets of powered extracts a day. I learned from C that there is a TCM school of thought that it is about the ratio of different chinese medicine and not the quantity that makes the difference. After two weeks my condition dropped to 0.4-0.5/10. Did another visit to C and after another two weeks it is now 0.3-0.4/10; significant improvement from where I started. C interestingly did chiropractic work on my neck as well.

      A = TCM Chinese Physician Zhou Yan (
      C = TCM Chinese Physician Dr Tan Bee Gawh (

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