Nerve deafness is hearing deficiency resulting from damage to the auditory nervous system from the nerve fibers at the base of the cochlear hair cells up to and including the brain stem. This nerve damage may occur before birth or at any time during a person's life. It may affect just one side or both sides.

Until the effectiveness of acupuncture was demonstrated in the United States, doctors here thought that there was no effective treatment for nerve deafness. Hearing aids can make sounds louder but not more meaningful. For this reason, many people with nerve deafness don't use them. They amplify all sounds equally and may make the discrimination of words more difficult as well as subjecting the wearer to loud, unpleasant noises conducive to anxiety. By improving a person's ability to discriminate between different sounds and words, acupuncture can enable him to use a hearing aid more effectively even if the decibel level of sounds he hears does not improve.

Over 90 percent of people with some residual hearing treated by acupuncture for nerve deafness show some improvement in discrimination. Over 70 percent show at least a 10-decibel improvement at four or more frequencies as well, on audiograms taken after 10 treatments. Half of the patients who do not show improvement after the first 10 treatments will show improvement in both discrimination and decibel level at some frequencies by the 20th treatment. Once a person's hearing has started to improve with acupuncture treatments, it will usually continue to improve until he has had at least 40 treatments, unless it becomes normal sooner.

Most patients receiving acupuncture for nerve deafness have one treatment a day. Some people between ages 12 and 50 are able to have two treatments a day. Others only receive treatments once or twice a week. The patients who receive treatments more frequently tend to get somewhat better results. Occasionally a patient will experience a dramatic return to normal hearing after less than five treatments, some even after the first treatment. Most people, however, require at least ten treatments to show significant improvement and many more treatments to obtain optimal improvement. The patients most likely to show rapid improvement in hearing with acupuncture treatments in our experience are older people who have lost their hearing gradually. Some teenagers hear much better after only a few treatments, but young children usually improve more slowly, often requiring 40 or more treatments for optimal results. We have successfully treated nerve deafness caused by many different factors, including pre-natal rubella, RH incompatibility, meningitis, viral infections, loud noises and presbycusis.


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