Name of treatment


Type of treatment

Physical intervention

Claims for treatment

Reduces/eliminates the tinnitus percept. 

How treatment is delivered

Acupuncture needles which are inserted at points on the body.

Potential negative consequences

Risk of infection transmission.[1]

Evidence offered:

Papers available

35 (as per systematic review, includes electroacupuncture[2])

Conclusions drawn

English studies reported negative results. Whilst the Chinese studies in the review seemed to indicate some relief from tinnitus could be found, many of these studies had methodological flaws [2]

Quality of evidence[3]


Does the BTA recommend this treatment?


BTA opinion on this treatment:

There is no evidence that this treatment is effective.

Would the BTA support further studies into this treatment?

Yes, if a high-quality study

Verdict: Safety - is this treatment harmful?


Limited potential for harm

Verdict: Efficacy - does this treatment work?


No evidence of an effect

[1] Xu S, Wang L, Cooper E, Zhang M, Manheimer E, Berman B, Shen X, Lao L. Adverse events of acupuncture: a systematic review of case reports. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013: 1–15. doi:10.1155/2013/581203. PMC 3616356. PMID 23573135.

[2] Liu F, Han X, Li Y, Yu S. Acupuncture in the treatment of tinnitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2016 Feb;273(2):285-94. doi: 10.1007/s00405-014-3341-7. Epub 2014 Oct 25.

[3] A = Systematic review/meta analysis. B = Randomised control studies. C = Cohort studies. D = Case control studies. E = case studies/reports. +/- to be used to indicate quality within bands

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Updated 11 June 2019