Questions asked by real people with tinnitus. Answered by tinnitus authority Barry Keate.

Arches Natural Products President, Barry Keate, understands the suffering caused by tinnitus. Having lived with tinnitus for over five decades, Barry is an expert on the condition and has made the recovery from tinnitus his life’s work.
NOTE: Ask Barry is pleased to be able to answer your questions based upon the information we have available. Our answers to inquiries are not substitutes for a physician’s advice nor are they reviewed by a physician. We encourage you to share any suggestions you have received from Ask Barry with your doctor.

May 2020 Ask Barry

Negative Ginkgo Report proves Questionable

Hi Barry,

I use your products religiously, but have a important question. My wife receives a “Health newsletter” and in this month’s edition they listed Ginkgo biloba as “avoid” using due to the National Toxicology Program report published in 2013 that there is evidence Ginkgo biloba caused liver cancer in mice and some evidence Ginkgo caused thyroid cancer in rats. Can you please respond to this study?

Thank you,
Walter B.

Dear Walter,

This is a controversial report from the National Toxicology Program. The American Botanical Council has called into question and refuted many of the assumptions of the report and urges people not to be misled by it.

First, the amount fed to the laboratory mice was an astounding 2,000 mg per kilogram (2.2 lbs) of body weight, taken every day over a period of 2 years. This is equivalent to me (at 165 lbs or 75 kg) taking 150,000 mg daily, an over 300-fold increase of my daily dosage. The total daily dosage of our proprietary ginkgo, Ginkgo Max 26/7®, in Arches Tinnitus Formula is 480 mg.

Second, the Ginkgo extract used was not a commercial preparation used in the United States or anywhere else. It was a sub-standard product from China that “did not conform to well established chemical profiles, quality and purity” of the leading extracts used in commercial Ginkgo biloba. The amounts of the individual components, ginkgo flavone glycosides, terpene lactones, bilobalide and ginkgolides were far in excess of anything found in commercial ginkgo. The extract itself has not been used in any commercial preparation.

Lastly, Ginkgo biloba has been used safely since its original formulation in the 1960’s by the Willmar Schwabe Co. of Germany. Tens of millions of people use ginkgo daily and it is the #2 prescribed medicine in Germany and France, where it is considered a prescription medication. It is one of the world’s most popular herbs. Were it to really cause cancer, we would have known this a long time ago. This report is an outlier and should not be considered representative of real-world conditions.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Clogged Ears, Terrible Tinnitus, and Hearing Music

Hi Barry,

I have had tinnitus since 1980. I am in chronic back and leg pain and take oxycodone with Tylenol. I am on an antidepressant which doesn’t seem to help me. Last summer, my hearing became much worse. And now I have new hearing aids and both my pain and hearing continue to worsen.

My left ear feels like it is clogging-up and feels horrible. The only relief for this is lying down and taking a sleeping pill. Audiologists and ENT doctors have been of no help.

I am stressed and hearing “music” in background with my tinnitus. Any ideas? This “clogged” feeling is just driving me mad.

Irene L.

Dear Irene,

You have brought up a series of questions. First of all, antidepressants are pretty notorious for causing hearing loss and tinnitus. Most modern SSRI antidepressants list tinnitus as a frequent side effect. So, your antidepressant may be causing the worsening hearing and increase in tinnitus. You could try to gradually wean yourself from this medication. Consult with your doctor about it because abruptly cutting it off can have negative effects.

There are many possible causes of a feeling of fullness, or clogging, in the ear. These range from Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, caused by flu, colds or allergies, to an infection in the middle ear, even to Meniere’s disease, which I don’t think you have or you would mention dizziness.

The music and singing voices is called Musical Ear Syndrome and is nothing to be afraid of. It usually occurs in older people who are also hard of hearing. The brain demands input and if it doesn’t get enough, it actually “makes up” sounds or remembers sounds from the past. One simple way to get this to calm down or go away is to make sure you have plenty of audio input. Play music in your home loud enough to hear and enjoy it.

I hope this information is helpful for you and you can start to enjoy life more.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Removing Dental Fillings Helps Tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

I’ve had tinnitus for 15 years. The buzzing in my head caused me to lose my job. Recently I had 12 amalgam fillings removed that Id had since I was 10 years old. I am at retirement age now. After the last three amalgams were removed my noise level has dropped from a 10 (loud buzzing) to a 2 (much more tolerable).

Could the amalgams of played a role in my tinnitus? I also have MS but am very active and eat organic. I feel the noise I have is more of a brain noise than any sort of ringing. Removal of the amalgam fillings I feel has really helped the buzzing to become more tolerable, could that be? Any studies on this?

Thank you,
Joan F.

Dear Joan,

Yes, it’s entirely possible removing the amalgam fillings are responsible for your decrease in tinnitus.

Amalgam dental fillings are commonly referred to as “silver fillings” but are really approximately 50% mercury. Silver comprises 25-35% of the filling and the balance is varying combinations of tin, copper and zinc. Mercury, which is liquid at room temperature, dissolves many other metals.

Mercury is an acknowledged neurotoxin. It is known that overtime mercury fillings can cause tinnitus and removing them can help. It may also help your MS. Here’s an article on amalgam fillings and tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

April 2020 Ask Barry

Fever-reducing Pain Meds and Tinnitus

Hi Barry,

Thanks for your terrific article about which over-the counter pain medications are contraindicated for tinnitus.

What about fever reducers? News reports about Covid-19 symptoms are full of advice to take acetaminophen if you have a fever, but it can exacerbate tinnitus. Any suggestions of what OTC med a tinnitus sufferer can take to reduce a fever without aggravating his tinnitus?

Thanks in advance for your attention,
Jerry P.

Dear Jerry,

There are no OTC fever reducing meds you can take that don’t have some potential to aggravate tinnitus.  Acetaminophen can aggravate it but it is lower on the list than the other NSAIDS and is what I use when I need pain relief.

Provided you don’t take a high dose over a long period of time, your chances of worsening tinnitus are slim. Acetaminophen can also damage the liver in high doses. The manufacturer says you should not take over 4,000 mg in one day and I would keep it a lot lower than that. I sometimes have knee pain and the drug works but I always keep the dosage below 2,500 mg. You can always take NAC in the dosage of 1,000 mg twice daily. This counteracts the ototoxicity of acetaminophen and is a very healthy antioxidant to use.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Panic Attacks Increasing Tinnitus Intensity

Hi Barry,

My tinnitus is so loud, I’ve had a panic attack going on six weeks. Can an ENT doctor help? When is too loud too loud? What can help decrease the sound? I’m losing it.

Kristi M.

Dear Kristi,

I’m really sorry your tinnitus is so bothersome. I know about panic attacks and they’re no fun.

The first thing to know is stress is the #1 aggravator of tinnitus. Stress will take a level 2 or 3 tinnitus and turn it into a level 8 or 9 overnight. I know it’’s extremely difficult to control but if you can lower your stress levels, the tinnitus should decrease as well.

Diet is another trigger for tinnitus, especially salt. Salt will dramatically increase tinnitus. Many people are unaware of this and consume salty snacks without knowing that’s what is triggering heightened tinnitus.

An ENT doctor will be able to test your hearing to see if that is the cause. Hearing loss is responsible for about 80% of those with tinnitus. However the ENT probably won’t have anything to offer for this. And it may be caused by other conditions, such as hypothyroidism, TMJ or other medical condition that an ENT won’t be familiar with. It may be best to have a full medical workup by your family doctor to see if something else is causing it.

Arches Tinnitus Formula is helpful for most people with tinnitus. Arches Tinnitus Formula has been shown in numerous clinical trials to reduce tinnitus loudness for most people who use it. It is especially helpful for those who have tinnitus due to hearing loss and/or noise exposure. It can also be helpful for those who have tinnitus due to toxic medications. One prominent Manhattan ENT says he has a 75-80% success rate with these patients using Arches Tinnitus Formula.

It takes three months to get the full benefit so we recommend Arches Tinnitus Starter Kit, a full three-month supply of four bottles. You can purchase each bottle separately but the Starter Kit offers a significant price discount and you don’t have to worry about running out during the critical three-month period.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Dietary Tinnitus Triggers?

Hi Barry,

I have been taking the Tinnitus Formula since Feb. 19. Last week my tinnitus got worse, making it hard to focus. Is it normal for it to get worse before it gets better?

Are there specific vitamins, minerals, and foods that are known to be triggers to make the tinnitus worse?

Diane M

Dear Diane,

No, this is not normal and it’s very likely caused by something else. I have been getting a lot of messages from people whose tinnitus has spiked in the last couple of weeks. In many cases this spike in tinnitus intensity is caused by additional stress from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic with the necessity to shelter in place, and the isolation of social distancing.

Stress is the #1 trigger for tinnitus and can worsen it significantly. When the stress recedes, tinnitus tends to go back to its previous level.

There are a lot of foods that can worsen tinnitus. Fast food contains high amounts of sodium, which makes tinnitus worse. Sodas, especially diet sodas, should not be consumed as the artificial sweeteners in most can trigger tinnitus.

I hope this is helpful and your tinnitus reduces.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

March 2020 Ask Barry

Can Tinnitus Formula Help Hearing Loss?

Hi Barry,

My hearing loss isn’t improving despite taking niacin and histamine drugs. Followed by increased tinnitus. Do you think Arches Tinnitus Formula can help sir?

Thank you,
Jude P.

Dear Jude,

Yes, I think Arches Tinnitus Formula (ATF) can help restore some degree of hearing and also reduce your tinnitus.

Clinical studies have shown Ginkgo biloba, the primary ingredient in ATF, restores hearing. One study conducted on patients with hearing weakness due to inner ear problems and using ginkgo, reported 35 of 59 patients in the study had either successful or very successful improvements in hearing.

Another study of 350 patients with hearing defects due to old age were treated with ginkgo extract. The success rate was 82% and a follow-up study of 137 of the original group 5 years later revealed that 67% still had better hearing.

There are also numerous clinical studies showing Ginkgo is an effective treatment for tinnitus.

Arches Tinnitus Formula is successful in restoring some degree of hearing, preventing further deterioration of hearing, and reducing tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Driven to Despair by Tinnitus


I need help. I am suicidal every day. I cannot cope with tinnitus.

Tommy P.

Dear Tommy,

Please do not despair. I know how bad tinnitus can be and I was once pretty much in your shoes. I remember thinking that I couldn’t possibly go on with it as bad as it was. There are treatments that really work to get tinnitus reduced and get your life back together. My tinnitus has gone down by about 2/3.

Stress and anxiety are the leading triggers for tinnitus. If you can reduce your stress levels, tinnitus will reduce as well. I know this is easier said than done but there are ways to accomplish this. Biofeedback and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy will be very helpful. They are both recognized by the American Academy of Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose & Throat doctors) as being effective. They are available in the UK and are usually administered by psychologists. They will train you to reduce tension and deeply relax. Here are articles about these therapies.

If you are overweight, insulin resistant or diabetic, this is a major cause of tinnitus. You can reduce it by consuming a good diet and exercise regularly. Salt is a major contributor to tinnitus and patients are advised to reduce salt intake. Eat plenty of whole, fresh food, avoid packaged foods and snacks, don’t drink carbonated beverages or visit fast food restaurants. This will take some time but it is very effective.

Your tinnitus may be associated with hearing loss. This is the most common cause and close to 85% of people with tinnitus have it due to hearing loss. For this, Arches Tinnitus Formula with Ginkgo Max 26/7 is very effective. One prominent ENT in Manhattan states he has success with 75 – 80% of people who have tinnitus due to hearing loss.

All of these therapies take time. But if you are willing to put forth the effort to manage your tinnitus, I’m certain it will significantly reduce the sound level.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

How to deal with Somatic Tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

I believe I have somatic tinnitus.  I am desperately searching for help. I’ve had it for 4 1/2 years and just stumbled on your site.  I live in NY. What’s my next step?

Lauren G.

Dear Lauren,

Somatic tinnitus occurs when signals from the body interfere with auditory signals to cause or worsen tinnitus. One of the common causes of this is TMJ dysfunction, where the jaw is out of alignment with the skull. A dentist familiar with the condition can tell you if you have it and, if so, can treat it. The most common treatment is use of a bite guard while sleeping that will help re-align the jaw.

Another common cause is spasm of the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle. This muscle starts under the ear and is what you use when turning your head. Spasm in the SCM can be treated by a physical therapist. You could see your family doctor about this and he or she would be able to refer you.

Biofeedback and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) are often used to treat muscle and upper cervical problems that cause tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

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