Project Title

Tinnitus and Qigong

Authors' Affiliations

Katlyn R. Plotzer, Department of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology, College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN Dr. Marc A. Fagelson, Department of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology, College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, and Vestibular Research Laboratory, Mountain Home Hearing and Balance Research Program, James H. Quillen VA Medical Center Dr. Saravanan Elangovan, Department of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology, College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN Dr. Courtney Hall, Vestibular Research Laboratory, Mountain Home Hearing and Balance Research Program, James H. Quillen VA Medical Center and Department of Physical Therapy, College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Audiology & Speech Pathology

Name of Project's Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Marc Fagelson

Additional Sponsors

Dr. Saravanan Elangovan, Dr. Courtney Hall

Type

Poster: Competitive

Classification of First Author

Graduate Student-Doctoral

Project's Category

Alternative Medicine

Abstract Text

Subjective tinnitus is the perception of sound despite the absence of an external stimulus. This challenging sensory event affects millions of people per year. There currently is no cure for tinnitus, but there have been many different options researched to help patients manage its effects, albeit with varying efficacy. In a viral internet video, the Beating the Heavenly Drum maneuver, found in the Eastern practice of Qigong, was said to eliminate the perception of tinnitus for the participants. In this current study, the Beating the Heavenly Drum maneuver was compared to a sham maneuver and evaluated for effectiveness in relieving tinnitus. To be included in this study, participants had experienced tinnitus for at least 6 months and were not currently receiving other tinnitus care. Exclusionary criteria included a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, any neurological condition, whiplash, neck injury, or severe anxiety or depression, as determined by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Participants completed a tinnitus case history form, Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI), Tinnitus Handicap Index (THI), and Visual Analog Scale (VAS) ranking the annoyance of their tinnitus. Participants were assigned to groups in an alternating fashion, with odd identifiers in Group 1 and even identifiers in Group 2. In Group 2, participants received the experimental maneuver (Beating the Heavenly Drum) during the first session and the sham maneuver (circles rubbed at the base of the skull) during the second. In Group 1, participants received a sham maneuver during the first session and the experimental maneuver during the second session. Within 48 hours after each session, participants completed the TFI, THI, and rated the annoyance of their tinnitus on a scale of 0 to 10 (keeping the same parameters from the VAS) via phone call. Of the twelve participants, two reported that the experimental maneuver, Qigong, was effective for tinnitus relief; while five reported the sham condition relieved their tinnitus. The remaining five participants stated that neither maneuver altered their tinnitus sensation. Across all participants, there were no significant difference scores on the THI, and only one significant difference score on the TFI. While participants reported some change in their tinnitus with either maneuver, none of the questionnaire measures corroborated their subjective report. Additionally, the sham maneuver was perceived as more effective than the experimental maneuver. The Qigong maneuver was not effective for tinnitus relief in this study. It should be noted that a limitation to this study is the small sample size. While this Qigong maneuver did not relieve tinnitus, there are other Internet tinnitus “cures” that should be investigated for their effectiveness in tinnitus relief. With the rise of the Internet and more patients searching for “quick fixes” to tinnitus, it is vital that clinicians provide appropriate education and research to best help patients manage their tinnitus.

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Tinnitus and Qigong

Subjective tinnitus is the perception of sound despite the absence of an external stimulus. This challenging sensory event affects millions of people per year. There currently is no cure for tinnitus, but there have been many different options researched to help patients manage its effects, albeit with varying efficacy. In a viral internet video, the Beating the Heavenly Drum maneuver, found in the Eastern practice of Qigong, was said to eliminate the perception of tinnitus for the participants. In this current study, the Beating the Heavenly Drum maneuver was compared to a sham maneuver and evaluated for effectiveness in relieving tinnitus. To be included in this study, participants had experienced tinnitus for at least 6 months and were not currently receiving other tinnitus care. Exclusionary criteria included a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, any neurological condition, whiplash, neck injury, or severe anxiety or depression, as determined by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Participants completed a tinnitus case history form, Tinnitus Functional Index (TFI), Tinnitus Handicap Index (THI), and Visual Analog Scale (VAS) ranking the annoyance of their tinnitus. Participants were assigned to groups in an alternating fashion, with odd identifiers in Group 1 and even identifiers in Group 2. In Group 2, participants received the experimental maneuver (Beating the Heavenly Drum) during the first session and the sham maneuver (circles rubbed at the base of the skull) during the second. In Group 1, participants received a sham maneuver during the first session and the experimental maneuver during the second session. Within 48 hours after each session, participants completed the TFI, THI, and rated the annoyance of their tinnitus on a scale of 0 to 10 (keeping the same parameters from the VAS) via phone call. Of the twelve participants, two reported that the experimental maneuver, Qigong, was effective for tinnitus relief; while five reported the sham condition relieved their tinnitus. The remaining five participants stated that neither maneuver altered their tinnitus sensation. Across all participants, there were no significant difference scores on the THI, and only one significant difference score on the TFI. While participants reported some change in their tinnitus with either maneuver, none of the questionnaire measures corroborated their subjective report. Additionally, the sham maneuver was perceived as more effective than the experimental maneuver. The Qigong maneuver was not effective for tinnitus relief in this study. It should be noted that a limitation to this study is the small sample size. While this Qigong maneuver did not relieve tinnitus, there are other Internet tinnitus “cures” that should be investigated for their effectiveness in tinnitus relief. With the rise of the Internet and more patients searching for “quick fixes” to tinnitus, it is vital that clinicians provide appropriate education and research to best help patients manage their tinnitus.