Tinnitus and electroacupuncture | British Tinnitus Association

Name of treatment


Type of treatment

Physical intervention

Claims for treatment

Reduces/eliminates the tinnitus percept. 

How treatment is delivered

A small electric current is passed between pairs of acupuncture needles which are inserted at points on the body.

Potential negative consequences

Possibility of tissue damage and electrolysis[1]. Risk of infection transmission.

Evidence offered:

Papers available

5 (as per systematic review[2])

Conclusions drawn

No convincing evidence that electroacupuncture is beneficial for treating tinnitus could be found2

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 high quality study

Verdict: Safety – is this treatment harmful?

  Limited potential for harm

Verdict: Efficacy – does this treatment work?

  No evidence of effect

[1] Lytle CD, Thomas BM, Gordon EA, Krauthamer V . Electrostimulators for acupuncture: safety issues. J Altern Complement Med. 2000. 6 (1): 37–44. doi:10.1089/acm.2000.6.37. PMID 1070623

[2] He M, Li X, Liu Y, et al. Electroacupuncture for Tinnitus: A Systematic Review. PLoS One. 2016;11(3):e0150600. Published 2016 Mar 3. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0150600

[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

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