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Can Acupuncture help Hearing Loss


I am 60 yrs old and suffer hearing loss caused by an antibiotic called Gentamicin. Has any Pressure Point or Acupuncture Practitioner been able to improve hearing with their treatments?


What were you taking gentamicin for? The answer to this would be helpful to see if there are other factors involved with your hearing loss than just the medication. In general, tinnitus, vestibular dysfunctions and hearing loss are all treatable with Chinese Medicine (acupuncture and/or herbal medicine depending on the case). But, drug related damage as in the case of a drug like gentamicin which carries a ~5-10% chance of ototoxicity can be more difficult.

While the general medical consensus is that this type of hearing loss is generally irreversible, there is still quite a bit of possibility, particularly if the problems are more temporary/inflammatory than outright damage. Only treatment will tell. Generally these types of conditions can take some time - on the order of 3 months of treatment. It may take longer than that to get continual improvement, but if there is absolutely no improvement by that point it is unlikely to happen.

It is thought that gentamicin can exist in the ear for up to a year, so often times the inner ear hair cells are simply not functioning well but are not completely damaged. So some people will experience spontaneous improvement in that 3 month to 1 year time frame even without treatment. Acupuncture has the potential to help the body processes the drug out and reduce the overall reaction. There is also more, but still small, evidence that regeneration can happen in those hair cells for hearing, so there is always hope if the body can be led to focus on that area.

I’ve personally treated many of these cases including some with near complete hearing loss and somewhere around 70% do very well regaining most, if not complete, function. Others get varying degrees of no response and only one of my patients with this type of reaction had no response. But those are just my personal results and not necessarily clinically valid across the board.


Thank you for taking the time to reply in such detail and explaining things so well.
Unfortunately, based on your reply, I think my loss may be irreversible as it has been 18 years since I was on Gentamicin for a staph infection in my knee after an operation.
Thank you again for such a detailed explanation.


If your hearing loss was acute after the infection and has stayed equally as poor all these years you are probably correct in that chances for improvement are low. If your initial loss was far less and you’ve seen progressive reductions over time then there is likely room for improvement. There are, of course, other health benefits to proper acupuncture treatment so worst case you would have some general health benefits from treatment even if the hearing doesn’t improve. Treatment for hearing loss generally focuses on the kidney system which is in part the low level functions related to slowing age related decline so there is benefit regardless. For general info, see my kidneys are what?


Where is your Practice?


Click on the “clinic” link at the top bar of any page on my sites. I’m in the US in Chattanooga, TN.

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