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.

August 2022 Ask Barry

Pine Bark for treating Tinnitus?

Dear Barry,

I’ve recently heard that studies on the effects of taking 100mg – 150mg of Pycnogenol daily have helped those of us with tinnitus.

What do you say?
Vicki B.

Dear Vicki,

Pycnogenol is a dietary supplement derived from the pine bark of the Maritime Pine (Pinus pinaster). The active ingredients in pycnogenol can also be extracted from other sources, including peanut skin, grape seed, and witch hazel bark. All act as antioxidants.

There are reports that Pycnogenol can help some people with tinnitus. It does this through increasing circulation in the inner ear. The only study that has been published on this was conducted on people who had tinnitus for a very short time (duration of a few weeks) and had no hearing loss. The researchers theorized that they had tinnitus as a result of poor blood perfusion in the inner ear.

Since the great majority of people with tinnitus have it as a long-term chronic condition and caused by hearing loss, the possibility of Pycnogenol being effective drops dramatically. Arches Tinnitus Formula, with Ginkgo Max 26/7 , also increases blood flow in the inner ear, acts as a powerful antioxidant with neuroprotective properties plus is a glutamate inhibitor. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter in the inner ear and auditory pathway. When damage is done to the hair cells in the cochlea, glutamate floods the entire auditory pathway. Excess glutamate excites the neuroreceptors in the inner ear and causes them to fire chemical bursts until they become depleted and die causing hearing loss and tinnitus.

Those who have tinnitus due to hearing loss have a 65% to 80% probability of improvement using Arches Tinnitus Formula.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Is there or isn’t there a cure for tinnitus?

Dear Barry,

I asked my doctor if there was a cure for tinnitus and he said no. Is this correct or is there a cure even doctors don’t know about or refuse to acknowledge?

Bob B.

Dear Bob,

Your doctor is correct in a limited way. Tinnitus that stems from noise-induced hearing loss, the great majority of cases, is due to damage to the nerves inside the auditory pathway. This is considered permanent and there is no cure.  In this sense your doctor is working with insufficient knowledge and conveying only partial truth.

There are, however, many therapies that can manage the sound level and reduce it to a more tolerable level. Still, many companies tout that they have a “tinnitus miracle” or “cure,” but to date there is no tinnitus cure available. However, there are several effective tinnitus treatments known to reduce the severity of the ringing in the ears and provide some relief. These tinnitus treatments can include the use of hearing aids and cochlear implants, cognitive behavioral therapy, masking devices, neural stimulation, tinnitus medications and our own natural tinnitus treatment.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Teeth Grinding and Tinnitus

Hi Barry,

I’ve only had tinnitus for 10 days without stopping now, and I’m quite distraught. I’m a 36 year old male. I used to play loud music as a teen, but that was 20 years ago. I have had many ear infections growing up, but again none in the last 5-10 years so I’m confused as to what brought this on. I do grind my teeth at night but have been wearing a mouth guard for 2 years. Some damage was done though.

It feels as though my left ear (where the ringing is coming from), is at about a 3/10 most of the time. I can manage to sleep at night ok, but am stressed out during the day to avoid the noise. I am quite down in the dumps and cannot get myself to eat much as this is all new to me.

I should also mention my dad has hearing loss and tinnitus too, which came on at the same time for him. What products do you recommend and how long do they usually take to kick in for most people?

Thank you,
Eric M.

Dear Eric,

I’m sorry to hear about your condition but I’m reasonably certain there are therapies that can help. It caught my attention that you have been grinding your teeth. This is known as bruxism and is a definite cause of tinnitus as well as Temporo-mandibular Joint (TMJ) dysfunction. Bruxism is not a disease but a learned response that becomes habitual and it can be changed, like any habit.

Mouth guards are effective for some but not so much for others. There are other therapies that help. The primary one is biofeedback which teaches the patient to control the sympathetic nervous system. This is responsible for many of the involuntary body functions such as heart rate, blood pressure and muscle contractions. Another helpful therapy is hypnotherapy.

I hope this is helpful in reducing your condition.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

July 2022 Ask Barry

Law Enforcement Duty Brings 24/7 Tinnitus

Greetings Barry,

I have had tinnitus symptoms for well over 40 years, due to being in law enforcement, and although I used good ear protection during firearm training, I still suffered some of the negative effects of an inner ear injury from constant firearm discharge close to my ears.

This tinnitus manifests itself just in having a low humming noise 24/7, does not interfere with sleep, or otherwise get in my way. I’ve had numerous tests, and all confirm slight loss of my “fine hearing.” Sometimes I forget about the humming noise, because of having this as my constant companion, I just ignore it.

Does your Tinnitus Formula treat the symptoms, ie, cause them to go away as I described in my case?

Thank you in advance,
William S.

Dear William,

I know this sounds like cold comfort, but in the grand scheme of things you are very lucky your tinnitus isn’t worse. I have the same type, due to noise exposure from firing weapons in the Armed Services. I was in the US Army in the days before they wore hearing protection on the firing range. My tinnitus developed into something that definitely changed my life for the worse.

Our flagship product, Arches Tinnitus Formula® (ATF)  effectively reduces the symptoms of tinnitus caused by exposure to noise, however it does not cure it. There is no “cure” for tinnitus and but there is help. ATF reduces tinnitus noise levels  for about 75-80% of those who have tinnitus caused by noise-induced hearing loss, such as you and me. I have maintained a reduction of tinnitus by about 2/3 for over 20 years using Arches Tinnitus Formula. Many of our customers have seen even higher reductions. You can read what some top ENT doctors think of Arches Tinnitus Formula.

Arches Tinnitus Formula with  our proprietary Ginkgo Max 26/7 is clinically proven to reduce tinnitus sounds for the great majority of people who have tinnitus due to hearing loss from noise exposure. Ginkgo Max 26/7 has a higher concentration of the essential components necessary for tinnitus reduction.There is an abundance of clinical studies that show the efficacy of the components used in Arches Tinnitus Formula when used for a period of 3-4 months (4 bottles).

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Can Arches help tinnitus caused by hearing loss?

Hi Barry,

I have sudden hearing loss and tinnitus. I read your newsletters faithfully and would like to try 4 bottles of your Tinnitus Formula.

I was diagnosed with sudden sensorineural hearing loss November of 2021 and as a result of the hearing loss, my tinnitus is so loud. I cried a lot; it’s so bothersome, but I think of a lot of other people that are worse off than me. I have previously tried Lipoflavonoid and other tinnitus vitamins, but nothing seems to quiet it down. I was wondering if 4 Tinnitus Formula would work for someone who has sensorineural hearing loss, and not just from noise induced tinnitus. I would try anything just to quiet it down a level.

Thank You!
Joanne D.

Dear Joanne,

Noise exposure always results in sensorineural hearing loss but sensorineural hearing loss is not always from noise exposure. Though they are essentially the same thing; hair cells in the cochlea are damaged which results in hearing loss. Whether this is the result of noise or other cause such as allergies, infection, or fluid in the middle ear is immaterial. The result is the same.

Arches Tinnitus Formula® works effectively for the great majority of people with sensorineural hearing loss of any type. One prominent ENT physician in New York City states that among those patients with hearing loss as the cause of their tinnitus, approximately 75% to 80% have a reduction in the sound level of their tinnitus. The amount of reduction varies by the individual.

Many researchers believe sudden sensorineural hearing loss can result from interrupted blood flow to the cochlea. In this regard, Arches Tinnitus Formula is helpful because it increases blood flow to the capillaries in the inner ear. Also, because your hearing loss is fairly recent, I believe the potential for improvement is very high.

I hope this helps and you are able to reduce the noise level.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Clicking and Snapping Sounds in Ear

Dear Barry,

I’ve been struggling with a form of Middle Ear Myoclonus that produces a clicking, snapping sound in my right ear. It’s been going on every day for four months. Some days it clicks every few minutes, some days every couple of hours. It’s most anxiety provoking.

I struggled with “subjective tinnitus” (hissing sound in the same ear for five years). I have high-frequency hearing loss in that ear as well. Do you think it’s all related? I had an MRI withcontrast, EEG and VEP all are normal. I’ve seen two ENTs, a neuro-otologist and a neurologist (who gave me Valium, which didn’t help). I’m despondent and desperate that this will never end. Any help, tips, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Steve

Dear Steve,

Thanks for sending this question to me. I hope I can help you to manage or eliminate this condition.

Middle Ear Myoclonus (MEM) is a form of objective tinnitus that can be heard by others listening closely to your ear. Myoclonus refers to a brief twitching of a muscle or group of muscles. In the middle ear it is usually the tensor tympani muscle which connects to the ear drum and/or the stapedius muscle which attaches to the stapes bone. In the illustration below the tensor tympani is the longer black muscle running up to the back of the eardrum and the stapedius is the short red muscle attaching to the horseshoe shaped stapes bone.

The tensor tympani and stapedius muscles are protective. Their role is to reduce the amount of sound that gets into the inner ear. They can be triggered by loud noise, stress or other conditions. If the tensor tympani muscle is in spasm, an observer can see the twitching of the ear drum. If the stapedius is in spasm twitching is not visible. Spasm in the tensor tympani usually results in a “thumping” noise like a tympani drum. It can also be heard as a clicking sound. Spasm in the stapedius muscle is usually heard as a buzzing, rumbling or crackling sound. Descriptions of the sound can vary widely among patients.

Stress can be an important part of MEM and controlling this can be very helpful. In that sense this may be related to your subjective tinnitus. That is why your neurologist gave you Valium. Many therapies have been tried and they seem to work with some people. Hypnosis, sedatives, acupuncture and biofeedback have all been attempted with varying degrees of success. When benzodiazepine anti-anxiety medications are used they generally start at a low dosage and are gradually increased until the patient improves or side effects become harmful. This may be why your dosage didn’t work; it was the beginning dose. On the negative side there is the issue of becoming dependent on “benzo” medications. They can be very dangerous this way.

My personal favorites in the class of treatments are acupuncture and biofeedback. I have seen people after an acupuncture session being so totally relaxed they can barely move. Biofeedback teaches people how to control the involuntary actions of the nervous system.

Another type of clicking tinnitus is known as typewriter tinnitus. This is attributed to irritability of the 8th cranial nerve. It is intermittent and has a staccato quality like a typewriter, popping corn or Morse code. This type is responsive to carbamazepine (brand name Tegretol). This medication is an anti-convulsant and mood stabilizing drug commonly used for epilepsy and some other conditions.

I suggest you try these therapies for a few months and give them a good chance to work. If they don’t there are other therapies to try. Botox injections have frequently been used for MEM. Botox will paralyze the muscles and stop the MEM. It can be injected into the wall of the Eustachian tube. This treatment is reasonable but needs an individual who is very good at understanding the anatomy of the tensor tympani muscle to administer the injection. Also, Botox wears off in three months.

The final therapy, if nothing else works, is surgery. Surgical sectioning (cutting) of the tensor tympani and/or stapedial muscle tendons is a straightforward and effective procedure. This is called tympanotomy and refers to a tiny incision in the ear drum through which the surgery is accomplished. The procedure immediately cures the condition and those who have had it become symptom free even after a follow-up one year later.

I hope this is helpful for you.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

June 2022 Ask Barry

A serious crash… and then tinnitus

Hi Barry,

I suffer from severe tinnitus hearing many different sounds caused by a high speed rear end collision. I suffered a horrible whiplash injury which caused among other things, my back molar teeth to be broken, and TMJ displacement, none of which has truly healed.

Do you know of any brand of hearing aids that are made specifically for people like me with tinnitus? It’s just extremely difficult to hear voices and make out conversations accurately over all this tinnitus noise.

I’ve been taking Arches Tinnitus Formula for 5 years and it reduces my tinnitus by about 30%. I did stop taking it a couple years ago thinking that it wasn’t working, but soon realized and remembered just how bad it really had been, as the noise level increased dramatically without it. I think we get used to something over time and forget our original condition. I won’t stop taking it again.

Sincerely,
Julie W.

Dear Julie,

I’m glad our product has been helping you. There are hearing aids made specifically for tinnitus and they may help a lot. Widex Zen Therapy is one such device and specifically for tinnitus. It uses what they call fractal technology to help mask tinnitus sounds. It sounds like chimes at different frequencies and timing.

There are quite a few others. We published an article on hearing aids, tinnitus maskers and tinnitus instruments.

The hearing aid is exactly what you think. The newer ones are digital and can be tuned to any frequency. A tinnitus masker is like a hearing aid but instead of amplification it provides a masking sound which reduces the tinnitus. The most effective and most popular device is termed a tinnitus instrument. This combines a hearing aid and a masker. The hearing aid can be turned off at night, when you don’t want amplification, while the masker is left on. About 71% of people who try out a tinnitus instrument are pleased with it and make the purchase.

There are many choices for you and I suggest you take the time to find the right device. When it comes to finding and getting fitted for a hearing device you’ll need to call around and try more than one device. I’m sure you can find a reputable local hearing center that can guide you to the right choice.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Diet Sodas and Tinnitus

Dear Barry,

Is it true that aspartame can contribute to tinnitus? Also, what about large amounts of carbonated drinks?

Thank you,
Steve A.

Dear Steve,

Aspartame is the most used artificial sweetener in diet sodas. It is a neurotoxin and leads to tinnitus as well as other neurodegenerative disease such as MS and Parkinson’s Disease. Extensive research has been done into the way aspartame, and its cousin MSG, destroys brain cells. Essentially aspartame is an excitatory neurotransmitter. By excitatory I mean the presence of aspartame excites neurons in the brain and allows them to fire electronic signals until they become depleted and die.

Large amounts of carbonated drinks are also problematic. If they are diet drinks they will contain aspartame. If they are not diet they contain sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup. There is also a significant relationship between excess sugar consumption and tinnitus. Researches have discovered a link between insulin resistance and tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Sinus Issues and Tinnitus

Dear Barry,

Is there any way to tell between tinnitus and sinus issues causing the noise in my ears?

Thank You,
Christine A.

Dear Christine,

If you are having any sinus issues that would be an indicator it may be the cause of your tinnitus. If you’re not certain you can have a checkup by an Ear, Nose and Throat physician who will examine your ears for infection and probably order an audiogram to check your hearing.

There are two types of hearing loss that can cause tinnitus; sensorineural and conductive. Sensorinearal hearing loss occurs when the hair cells in the inner ear are damaged. Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound is not fully transmitted to the inner ear. Conductive hearing loss will occur with sinus issues.

An audiogram will be able to distinguish between the two. It measures both air conduction and bone conduction hearing in the inner ear. If they both indicate hearing loss the cause is sensorineural. If there is good hearing by bone conduction but not by air conduction the hearing loss is conductive.

Another test for sinus problems is a tympanogram which measures mobility of the ear drum. This will tell whether there is fluid buildup in the middle ear indicating potential sinus problems.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Ask Barry Questions Categories

Causes of Tinnitus & Related Conditions

View FAQ

Tinnitus Treatments & Related Medicine

View FAQ

Other Supplements for Tinnitus

View FAQ

Ask Barry Your Questions on Tinnitus

Do you have a question on tinnitus or our products? Ask Barry. Tinnitus expert Barry Keate will research and answer your questions on tinnitus.
Due to the high volume of questions sent to us, we ask that only one question be sent at a time.