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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.

January 2023 Ask Barry

Salt and Tinnitus Roller Coaster

Hi Barry,

After much detailed experimentation, following your literature’s advice, I have determined that an ultra-low sodium diet reduces the ear ringing substantially. My question is, if I do have a higher sodium diet one day, why am I OK the rest of that day, but wake up with the increased ringing which lasts 24 hours? Then, approximately 40 hours later after the high sodium food, I wake up and the ringing is back in lower levels. It’s a maddening roller coaster.

Why does it take so long for the increased ringing to start up and why does it last so long before quieting down? Ultra low sodium for me is less than 400 mg a day. The higher sodium diet in question was about 800 mg in one day. What was added was a cup of cottage cheese! Also I am not overweight or have any health problems.

Or, am I imagining this cause and effect?

Thank you!
Lesley R.

Dear Leslie,

Thank you for your message; this is very important to many people who suffer from tinnitus.

You are not imagining this. It is common knowledge among tinnitus professionals that increased sodium intake exacerbates tinnitus and reducing sodium is helpful in reducing the sound level. Why it takes until the next day to affect you is beyond me. We all process things differently and your metabolism of sodium must be fairly slow. If I have a salty meal, it only takes a couple of hours to increase my tinnitus and the increase only lasts until the next day, when it is generally returned to normal.

You can reduce the amount of time tinnitus is increased by drinking lots of water. This should flush the excess sodium through your system faster.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Zoloft for Tinnitus: Help or Hurt?

Hi Barry,

I am struggling with tinnitus. I started taking 50mg of Zoloft and it does help a lot though I am concerned it can, and is, making my tinnitus worse. Is this possible?


Dear Jim,

I’m sorry you’re having a difficult time. Zoloft is frequently prescribed for people with tinnitus. All SSRI antidepressants have the potential of causing or worsening tinnitus. For most people, this doesn’t happen but for up to about 8% it does. If it does make your tinnitus worse, stop using it immediately. If it doesn’t, you can probably continue to use it and hopefully it will make you feel better.

There is another worry about SSRI antidepressants of which you should be aware. They all potentiate serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter that fights depression. SSRI is an acronym for Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor. So these medications ensure that serotonin stays in the system longer, making the patient feel better.

The problem with this is after an amount of time, varying by the individual, the brain is fooled into thinking there is plenty of serotonin and stops making any more of it. Then the patient becomes dependent on the medication to keep serotonin available. If a lot of dependence occurs, it becomes extremely difficult to withdraw. Some people are trapped into using these medications for the rest of their lives. I advise to not use it for more than a few months. Hopefully your condition will improve by then and you’ll be able to slowly reduce dosage.

You can read more about this conundrum in the article Tryptophan, Serotonin and Tinnitus .

Wishing you quiet times,

Barry Keate

Tinnitus after Crash

Dear Barry,

I just placed my order for the Arches Tinnitus Formula today. It was recommended to me by my ENT doctor.

I had the onset of loud ringing in my right ear 2-3 days after being rear-ended in an auto collision. I experienced a whiplash as my head snapped backward then forward sharply. My ENT doctor vacuumed away some wax that seemed compressed within my inner ear that gave me immediate and substantial relief until I laid my head down on the pillow that night. It was as if a switch was thrown immediately initiating an even louder and more persistent ringing. Then my ENT ordered a brain MRI which was inconclusive. He has no idea what is causing the tinnitus ringing.

Do you have any ideas and where I should go from here? The ringing is the worst when I wake up in the mornings. I’ve started calling it my “mini alarm clock” in my ear.

I appreciate any words of wisdom you may have for me.

David H.

Dear David,

I’m very sorry this happened to you. I agree that the tinnitus was most likely caused by whiplash; this is often the case. Most results from whiplash will resolve after a few months. You didn’t mention how long ago this happened so I cannot comment on whether you are inside this window.

Ginkgo biloba, found in Arches Tinnitus Formula as Ginkgo Max 26/7 can be very helpful in cases of whiplash and tinnitus. It brings more blood flow to the damaged area of the brain and helps heal tissues. It also calms the neuro-excitability of the damaged areas by antagonizing the effect of glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter that plays a central role in tinnitus.

One common effect of whiplash is TMJ dysfunction. This is where the Temporo-Mandibular joint, which holds the jaw in place relative to the skull, is knocked out of alignment. This will definitely cause tinnitus. Your comment that it’s worse in the morning leads me to believe that, when sleeping, you are applying pressure on the joint, causing the tinnitus to worsen. The good news is, TMJ is treatable. Most treatments are painless and non-invasive and may amount to nothing more than a mouth guard at night.

Please read the above TMJ dysfunction article carefully. I believe it will give you hope for an improvement. At the end of the article is a link to the association of TMJ specialists, who come out of the dental profession, and a page where you can find a specialist in your area. I advise you to contact a TMJ specialist for an evaluation.

I hope this is helpful and your tinnitus improves greatly.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

December 2022 Ask Barry

Holiday Flying with Tinnitus

Hi Barry,

I use your product and have excellent results. I have a question about flying, which I’ll be doing this month for the holiday.

Can you recommend an antihistamine that will prevent my ears from getting plugged? Anything else I should be aware of? I haven’t flown since the ringing started.

Margaret M.

Dear Margaret,

I’m very happy you’ve had good results with our product.

Flying with tinnitus presents a couple of problems. One is the engine noise and the other is pressure changes. The pressure changes primarily affect people with head colds or allergies. An over-the-counter antihistamine should be very helpful but I don’t have any particular favorite. I try to chew some gum during takeoff and landing as this helps the ears to pop and equalizes pressure.

We published an article on flying with tinnitus that you may want to review. There are several helpful hints in it.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Musical Ear Syndrome

Dear Barry,

I have Musical Ear Syndrome and want to know does your product work for this condition. If not can you give me any information on how to help my condition.

Thank you,
Rose M.

Dear Rose,

Musical Ear Syndrome usually arises in those who are hard of hearing and are not in an audio enriched environment. When the brain is deprived of sounds, it will often fill the void with sounds it has remembered. Many people do not find this bothersome and it can be quite pleasant for some.

Arches Tinnitus Formulas do not help Musical Ear Syndrome. Treatment therapies include maximizing hearing with a hearing aid and enriching the environment with sound. This provides the brain with much needed input so it won’t generate its own sound.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Waiting to hear improvement

Dear Barry,

I have read several reports about success with Arches tinnitus capsules, I am starting my third bottle and have not seen any noticeable decrease in the sensitivity that seems to create the ringing in my head, My question is would I be due for some relief soon? I must add that I sleep fairly well but wake with the noise immediately is there some explanation to this or again do I expect some morning relief after moving through at least 4 bottles of your medication? I realize my questions is somewhat vague but again what is it that I may experience after the 100 odd days of treatment?

Eagerly awaiting your reply.

Robert H.
Sydney, Australia

Dear Robert,

We know there is an abundance of scientific evidence on the efficacy of the components used in Arches Tinnitus Formula (ATF) when taken properly. That being said, everyone will respond differently to our product. Our product works best for individuals who have tinnitus due to hearing loss.

We advise that you must try Arches Tinnitus Formula for at least 100 days (4 bottles) to determine its effectiveness. Anecdotally, several ENT docs who prescribe ATF have witnessed improvement in individuals who have chosen to continue to use our product past the recommended 4 bottles. Still, this is a treatment and not a cure, so others see no improvement. Our experience has shown that a great majority of people will not hear a change until at least after 2 or 2 1/2 bottles (50 – 60 days) so please continue to the end to determine if it can be helpful.

Some people have experienced a gradual improvement in their tinnitus. Others, me included, notice a rapid change somewhere in the 2 – 3 month time frame. I remember waking up one morning after about 2 1/2 months and noticing something was different. It took me a few minutes to realize that my ears were much quieter than they previously had been.

Regarding your tinnitus upon awakening, it is very normal to experience more noticeable ringing at that time.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

November 2022 Ask Barry

Taking too much zinc for Tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

I just ordered my second set of 4 bottles of Arches Tinnitus Formula. Here is my question: Taking 4 capsules per day of your formula provides 30 mg of zinc. I also take 2 calcium capsules per day that contain 10 mg each of zinc so I am now receiving 50 mg per day. The RDA recommended dosage per day is 15 mg. Am I being over ‘zinc-ed’?

Robert H.

Dear Robert,

No, you are not getting too much zinc, but there is a caveat.

The RDA “minimums are the amount necessary to stay healthy. 50 mg of zinc per day is a therapeutic dose for the relief of tinnitus. We initially were going to have 50 mg in the daily dosage of Arches Tinnitus Formula but decided to reduce the amount precisely because of people like you who get zinc from other supplements. 50 mg zinc is not too much. So the caveat is that at this amount you should add small amounts of copper and manganese, as zinc competes with these minerals for absorption.

According to the National Institutes of Health adults may take 40mg daily without extra supplementation. Above this level, zinc should be taken with small amounts of copper and manganese. The general rule is to take 1-2 mg copper and 2-3 mg manganese for every 10 mg of zinc above a 40 mg daily dosage. Therefore, someone taking 50 mg zinc daily should also take 1-2 mg copper and 2-3 mg manganese. Many zinc supplements now add these two minerals.

Basic elemental zinc does not absorb well. Arches Tinnitus Formula uses the most easily absorbed form of zinc,  zinc picolinate.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Will general anesthesia worsen Tinnitus?

Hi Mr. Barry,

I hope your well. Recently I went under a minor surgery for a muscle biopsy and was put under general anesthesia for about an hour or so. It’s been more than two weeks now and my tinnitus has become progressively louder. I’m not sure whether anesthesia has the effect to do this and I am very concerned as living with tinnitus in this volume is unbearable I tried to tell my doctor about this he said there’s no connection between the two. I’m very frightened if you have any experience about this matter please help me out.

Thank you,
Mohsin A.

Dear Mohsin,

Yes, anesthesia can cause an increase in tinnitus. You didn’t mention which drug you were given but many of them can cause an increase. I had an endoscopy last year and the doctor used propofol, which is very popular. My tinnitus increased for a few months and it was very scary. However it eventually returned to its lower level after I used N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and Arches Tinnitus Formula. Other anesthetics will not cause this.

I’ve been recommending NAC for years as a way to prevent increased tinnitus due to noise exposure or ototoxic medications. I recommend you take NAC at the dosage of 2,000 mg per day, 1,000 in the morning and 1,000 in the evening. NAC can be found in most health food stores or online. It helps protect the ear from ototoxic medications.

I also recommend taking Arches Tinnitus Formula, 2 capsules in the morning and 2 in the evening. You must continue both of these for three months to determine efficacy. They are both very healthy and can be continued indefinitely if you like. Arches Tinnitus Formula should lower your tinnitus levels.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

My friend, Tinnitus

Dear Barry,

I took the four bottles of your Tinnitus Formula which I started back in March. I had one day that I had heard no hissing in my left ear. I gave up and said, “This is not working”. Later I ordered another bottle and gave it another try only to find out I am the same. Did I do something wrong to discontinue and then start over again. I went to my ENT and he said “There is nothing that can be done just live with it think of it as your friend.”

Well I am not too happy about what he said but maybe he is right. Could you give me some feed back as to what I should be doing? I also have positional vertigo that acts up twice a year and I have to go to the ENT doctor and he gives me the positional treatment which works. I also have TMJ which I wear a night guard at night and now I my dentist said to start wearing it during the day to see if that makes it any better.

Thanks for your time.
Joanne V.

Dear Joanne,

I strongly disagree with your Ear, Nose and Throat doctor saying there’s nothing that can be done. This is factually incorrect and the American Tinnitus Association has been trying for several years to discourage ENTs from saying this. While there is no cure, there are many alternative therapies that can be helpful for reducing tinnitus. Arches Tinnitus Formula is one but there are others.

I don’t know if you took the Tinnitus Formula continuously for the four bottles or only took a portion of it. It must be used continuously for 100 days (4 bottles), taking two capsules twice daily, before you can determine its total effectiveness. Starting and stopping will definitely not be helpful.

I suspect your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder may play a strong role in your tinnitus. A night guard worn only at night is a good idea but only the start of TMJ therapy. At the bottom of the above linked article are links to where you can find a TMJ specialist in your area. While these specialists come from the dental field, not all dentists are trained in TMJ therapy. Almost all the therapy options are painless and non-invasive. I think you should see a specialist in your area and go from there. You may find you can significantly reduce your tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

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