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.

July 2021 Ask Barry

Giving ginkgo a go… again?

Hi Barry,

Thought I might give the Gingko another go. Have you any experience with someone not responding to it, then responding some time later? I presently take 40 mg Lipitor, 25 mg Metropolol, .5 mg Clonazepam and .4 mg Flomax. All, l time daily. I stopped my anti-depressant after a year and gained needed weight and feel better, but the ringing did not subside.

It seems now, when loud noises occur the ringing goes up much quicker than it recedes, and I don’t think it recedes to the level it was before the loud noise. But I can’t live in a soundproof chamber. Let me know what you think, and what is the minimum amount I should try, if I should try at all. I have heard Memantine can be helpful, but can’t get any of my doctors to let me try it. Problem is, even in a city the size I live in, there are no doctors really knowledgeable on tinnitus.

Best regards,
Jim P.

Hi Jim,

Yes, it’s possible that you could have a more effective reaction. Clinically, there’s no doubt that the ingredients in Arches Tinnitus Formula, ginkgo, zinc and odor-controlled garlic are helpful in reducing tinnitus and restoring healthy chemistry to the auditory pathway. Anecdotally we have seen individuals respond to our product after 6 or more months, though we recommend trying it for 3 months.

I think that a combination therapy may be useful. Arches Tinnitus Formula in conjunction with another therapy may be more effective than either one by itself. There are many things that can be used for tinnitus. Gabapentin has been shown to reduce symptoms for many as has Melatonin. Gabapentin (trademarked as Neurontin) has been studied in combination with Klonopin by Dr. Abraham Shulman and has been shown to reduce symptoms for most people.

Neurontin has some side effects and about 30% of those in Dr. Shulman’s trial decided to discontinue due to those effects. A very similar product is available over-the-counter from health food stores and sold as GABA (gamma amino butyric acid). GABA and Neurontin both activate the GABA receptors in the brain, which are inhibitory receptors. They slow down excess electrical activity in the auditory cortex. We have heard from a few people that GABA supplements in conjunction with ATF have reduced the noise significantly.

There have been studies done with melatonin that show it also reduces symptoms. I came across interesting studies at the University of St. Louis where they were conducting trials with gabapentin and rTMS, as well as on Melatonin and Memantine.

I have a couple of comments on their reports. They discuss using 3 mg Melatonin. My own personal experience is 5-10 mg two hours before bedtime is great for inducing a good night’s sleep.

They report that gabapentin was well tolerated while Dr. Shulman reports a 30% drop out rate due to side effects. I think the difference is the people in St. Louis were using 900 mg while Dr. Shulman started at 900 mg and went up to 2700 mg if necessary.

In the Memantine discussion, they mention it is antiglutamatergic and that’s why it’s effective. This means Memantine inhibits the production and action of glutamate. Ginkgo biloba does the same thing! It is an effective glutamate antagonist and a powerful antioxidant within the ear. The combination of the two should be very effective if used together.

Hopefully, a combination therapy will be more efficacious than any particular one.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Tinnitus caused by medication?

Hi Barry,

I started taking Ultram last year due to a herniated disk at L5/S1. It really helps the pain but, since last January, I’ve been experiencing the hissing sound of tinnitus in my right ear. My left ear has only had a touch of this but I wonder if it will get worse over time.

My pharmacist said that the medicine that I’ve been prescribed could very well have caused or, at least, contributed greatly to the tinnitus. Do you have any information connecting this particular medication to tinnitus?

I appreciate your newsletter and I want you to know that you’re doing a good thing by bringing this information to the masses. It lets all of us that have this problem know that we’re not “crazy” or imagining things. Thank you so much.

Warm Regards,
Stacy P.

Dear Stacy,

Thank you for your kind words. This job brings a lot of satisfaction to me, especially when I receive feedback like yours.

Ultram can cause or worsen tinnitus in less than 1% of people. This sounds small, but if you’re in that 1%, you don’t care that the other 99% didn’t get it. I recommend you discuss with your doctor whether there’s another, equally effective, painkiller without the possible side effect of tinnitus. You can view a list of prescription drugs that cause tinnitus .

Studies show that those people who have tinnitus primarily in one ear and who have had it for less than one year respond much better to Ginkgo biloba. One researcher stated that not only should all people with tinnitus use Ginkgo but they should begin as soon as symptoms are present. Our proprietary ginkgo, Ginkgo Max 26/7 is one of the primary ingredients in Arches Tinnitus Formula.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Where’s the tinnitus cure?

Barry,

I just saw (in a pop-up) and see you “recovered” from Tinnitus!?!? I didn’t know it was possible. I am tired of spending money from my SS on “cures”….nothing has helped me.. I don’t know WHEN or HOW it started… but it’s been YEARS… and YES, I’m yelling!!!!

Sorry… I went to 2 audiologists within a 5 year span (some years ago). Both said the same thing: nerve damage…..?? From what?? Loud noise, heavy metal bands? Medication? I am laughing right now… I hope you are. I have made the comment that tinnitus will follow me to the coffin. BUT, in my heart, I’m still looking for help… these $9.99, $39.99, “cures” add up, and yes, I AM worth the money but I am on a limited income and barely make a go of life at this point… I take synthroid (slow metabolism for over 10 years now). I recently heard that it can “cause” tinnitus.  I shouldn’t have told you that, as it gives you an “excuse” for my T!!! If your truly interested in helping people, I am sure I will hear from you.

Maryann

Dear Maryann,

Certainly people can recover from tinnitus, just as I have. That’s not to say there’s a cure, there is no cure for tinnitus. When we say recovery, we mean managing the condition to reduce the sound so we can continue with our lives. Tinnitus is no longer in the front and center of our consciousness but more in the background. So when anyone advertises a “cure”, know that this is impossible and it’s probably a scam.

There are many therapies that help people reduce tinnitus sounds. Proper diet and exercise are very important. Researchers have found that close to 90% of people with tinnitus have a sugar metabolism disorder known as Hyperinsulinemia. This simply means an elevated insulin level in the blood. They conducted a clinical study and put these people on a diet suitable for diabetics; low sugar, low refined carbohydrates, eating every three hours. Over two years, 76% had improvement in their tinnitus.

Reducing salt and exercising regularly are very helpful for people with tinnitus. There are medical therapies that help people such as tinnitus masking, Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, cochlear implants and some prescription medications. New therapies are being developed that have great promise. Electrical and magnetic stimulation have shown some positive results in clinical trials. Many of these therapies can be found in the Tinnitus Library.

I don’t know what you meant by the phrase “giving me an excuse for your tinnitus”. Sometimes, if we can find the cause, there is something that can be done. The Synthroid did not give you tinnitus but quite probably your underactive thyroid did. Hypothyroidism is a known cause of tinnitus.

Arches Tinnitus Formulas are helpful for most people in reducing, but not curing, tinnitus symptoms. Darius Kohan MD, a specialist in otologic surgery and a faculty member at several major medical centers, states regarding his patients with tinnitus due to sensorineural hearing loss: “Arches Tinnitus Formula doesn’t work with everybody, but works with about 75% to 80% of these patients. Arches Tinnitus Formula is a safe and benign treatment that we initiate for patients.”

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

June 2021 Ask Barry

Antioxidants for Tinnitus

Barry

Was just wondering if antioxidants help reduce tinnitus if a person is already taking Ginkgo? I’ve tried Arches but never took it with an antioxidant.

Thanks
S.C. from Iowa

Dear SC,

Antioxidants can be helpful in reducing tinnitus. One of the ingredients in our Tinnitus Formula is zinc picolinate, an important antioxidant, shown in clinical studies to be effective in reducing tinnitus. Antioxidants in general will definitely be helpful in preventing further damage to your hearing and increased tinnitus. Furthermore, antioxidants prevent many diseases, including some forms of cancer. They are one of the secrets of longevity.

You cannot take too many antioxidants. Of particular importance to those with tinnitus are Zinc, Vitamins C and E, N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) and Acetyl-L-Carnitine. Please read our article, Antioxidants, Tinnitus and Your Health found in our Tinnitus Library.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Hearing loss and Tinnitus in Seniors

Hi Barry,

My mother is 86 and has had tinnitus for 10 years. She is on some medication and has been getting very depressed with the constant ringing. Is there a cure or something you can recommend to help her? One doctor suggested an operation with risks and no guarentee. Can you advise what to do?

Thanks,
Charlie

Dear Charlie,

The elderly have a higher prevalence tinnitus due to failing hearing. This is not a reversible condition and I’m not sure what operation a doctor may have mentioned. One I can think of would be a cochlear implant. If this is what her doctor recommended it may deserve consideration. Cochlear implants are electronic devices that perceive sound and generate it to the auditory nerve.

Having such an intrusive procedure at the age of 86 may not be in the cards though. This procedure severs the auditory nerve and destroys all natural hearing.That is something for you and your mother to decide.

Tinnitus masking may help her, especially a device called a Tinnitus Instrument. This device combines a hearing aid and a masker in the same unit and fits into the ear.

You did not mention the medications she is taking. Is she using a SSRI anti-depressant? If so, these can cause or worsen tinnitus and substitutes should be considered. Remeron is a newer anti-depressant medication modeled after the older tricyclic anti-depressants. It does not cause or worsen tinnitus. Tryptophan is the best as you probably saw from the newsletter article.

Does she take any prescription blood thinners? If so, she cannot take Arches Tinnitus Formula® without her doctors knowledge and understanding. Our proprietary Ginkgo Max 26/7®, the  ginkgo found in ATF, is also a blood thinner and is considered additive. A knowledgeable doctor will be able to lower the amount of blood thinner to compensate for the ginkgo. There are no interactions between the two.

If she is not taking prescription blood thinners, or if she is and her doctor is willing to lower the dosage, I recommend the Tinnitus Formula. It clearly helps many people with tinnitus due to failing hearing in the elderly.

There are other ways to manage tinnitus as well. Diet is extremely important. She should avoid salt like the plague. Salt is a major aggravator of tinnitus and restricts blood flow into the cochlea. She should also avoid high glycemic foods such as simple sugars and refined carbohydrates. Sugar is a trigger for many people with tinnitus.

I hope this is helpful for your mother.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

A “Ringing” Sinus Headache

Hi Barry,

My problems are sinus headaches and ringing ears. I’ve been to numerous ENT doctors and still have no relief. I taken every med including steroids with no progress. During the day its tolerable but at night its worse. Especially when laying down. My head feels like its full of fluid and the ringing is unbearable. It wakes me up its so bad.

Rainy and muggy days are worst. Also I snore like there is no tomorrow. I do not have apnea. I had two operations to stop snoring; one for deviated septum and the other was laser surgery. Both failed. I am at my wits end. Do you have any clue as to what I can do?

Paul C.

Dear Paul,

It seems as though part of the problem you’re having may be due to inflammation. This is a complex situation involving many of the processes in the body. Inflammation is the cause of many human diseases and is a subject researchers spend lifetimes working on. This is probably why your doctors tried steroids, which are known to reduce some forms of inflammation. Inflammation is definitely a cause of headache and sinus problems.

Inflammation causes pain as well as a host of degenerative diseases and can have a significant effect on tinnitus.. One very basic principle is that a primary cause is too much saturated fat and not enough unsaturated essential fatty acids, which the body cannot produce. Essential fatty acids are the Omega-3 acids found in fish oil and EPA/DHA. EPA is eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA is docosahexaenoic acid. If there are not enough of these compounds in the diet, saturated fats replace the Essential Fatty Acids in the cells. Supplementing with the right fatty acids suppresses inflammatory prostaglandins, a group of lipids made at sites of tissue damage, and promotes anti-inflammatory prostaglandin E-2.

I also recommend a diet high in fish. Also supplement with fish oil or an EPA/DHA compound. Avoid saturated fats, salt and high glycemic foods such as simple sugars and refined carbohydrates. Please read our article, Omega-3s, Inflammation and Tinnitus: A Fish Story, for more detailed information.

Be very careful about your salt intake. Salt will aggravate tinnitus as well as inflammation.

Also you should use Arches Tinnitus Formulas. While they will not directly address the issue of inflammation, they will help in reducing the tinnitus. Arches Tinnitus Formula® will also increase circulation within the ears and help to reduce the fullness.

I hope this is helpful.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

May 2021 Ask Barry

Losing her hair over tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

I have been taking Arches Tinnitus Formula now for over a year. I only came down with tinnitus two years ago. As others have stated, it is a terrible and frustrating problem. But, taking your formula has totally reduced the noise level for me completely. It was wonderful day when I was sitting in my home in silence and realized I had no noise in my left ear what so ever. It was amazing! I wanted to thank you for that.

Recently though, I noticed that I am losing more hair than normal. I read where blood thinners can cause loss of hair. And I believe that this might be the cause, since I have had no other medications and I have no history of hair loss in my family. This of course is upsetting and I am wondering what I can do? I know if I go off of the Tinnitus Formula I will get my terrible buzzing noise back. If I reduce the amount I take each day, I do not know if I will get back the noise or even if it will help on the hair loss issue? Any suggestions I would appreciate.

Thanks very much!
Elizabeth F.

Dear Elizabeth,

I’m sorry to hear about your hair loss. But I am happy your tinnitus is so much improved.

In the numerous clinical studies which have been done on the ingredients used in our Tinnitus Formulas, hair loss has never been noted or described as a side effect, nor have we ever heard of this phenomena from any of our customers. Ginkgo biloba doesn’t really cause blood  thinning but more accurately increases circulation.

In a clinical study published by the National Institute of Health in 1993 found that Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) could actually help hair regrowth.  In the study they wrote, “GBE had the inhibitory effects on blood platelet aggregation, thrombin activity and fibrinolysis. GBE inhibited the increase of serum the triglyceride level in high cholesterol diet-treated rats. These results suggested that GBE promotes the hair regrowth and could be used as a hair tonic.”

Conversely, prescription blood thinners have been shown to cause hair loss for some. In 2018, Healthline.com wrote, “Anticoagulants like heparin and warfarin are used to thin the blood and prevent blood clots and certain health concerns in some people (like those with heart conditions). These medications can cause hair loss that begins after taking these medications for about three months.”

So based on your information, I’m at loss to suggest what is causing your hair loss. Though, Healthline.com went on to offer, “Hormone therapies can trigger hormone imbalances in women, causing hair loss — and potentially causing permanent female pattern baldness. Birth control pills used for contraception and hormone replacement therapies (HRT), like progesterone and estrogen, are examples.” This may or may not be helpful, but I hope you can find the root cause of your problem.

But since your tinnitus is so greatly improved, you may not need to take the full dosage. You might try lowering your dosage gradually to two capsules daily. Go to three capsules daily for a couple of weeks. If the noise doesn’t come back, go to two. Hopefully, you’ll continue to have the same results with the tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Tinnitus only when he plays…

Dear Barry,

I am a musician and I have an anxiety disorder and take prescription medication for it. About the same time the 200 mg dosage of Zoloft kicked in (with euphoria), I began hearing a rasp or a grain within the tone of my trumpet. No other tinnitus. Just when I play my horn.

If I put ear plugs in, it cuts the rasp out, but of course a wind instrument player has to hear well his tone for the hearing interacts with the desire or intention to produce a tone similar to previous performances.

Of course I stopped taking the Zoloft right after I realized it was in my hearing and not in the instrument. Still, it was after the fact of getting the tinnitus rasp, and there is a commensurate effect in the production.

Happened 4 years ago; I cut out all caffeine; any comments Barry?

Thanks,
Henry

Dear Henry,

Prescription anti-depressants can be pretty nasty drugs. Most of them cause tinnitus at least some of the time and Zoloft is one of the worst offenders. It frequently causes tinnitus in those people who use it. There are a host of other unwanted side effects from these drugs. According to the Physician’s Desk Reference, Zoloft frequently causes the following: sexual dysfunction, impotence, heart palpitations, chest pain, weight gain, back pain and tinnitus. The list of infrequent but possible side effects is far too long to include here.

There are many other natural anti-depressants that work just as well or better than Zoloft and have no possible side effects. They’re not prescribed often by doctors because the pharmaceutical companies can’t patent them.

Some natural anti-depressants that come to mind are Ginkgo biloba, B-Complex vitamins, St. John’s Wort and SAMe. SAMe is pretty expensive and not covered by insurance but it can be effective as a natural anti-depressant.

You’re wise to stay off that prescription and play beautiful music.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Inflammation, Infection & Antibiotics and Tinnitus

Dear Barry,

I`m a twenty nine year old woman, and I have problem with tinnitus. I`ve heard about your company and your remedies, so I would like to ask you some questions. By the way I will try to explain you the beginning of my tinnitus.

In 1999 I suffered from a severe inflammation of the middle ear (bilateral) which lasted for about fifteen days. After taking antibiotics, the inflammation disappeared, but soon after that I started hearing a pulsating noise, in the rhythm of my heartbeats. The lower my head was, the louder was this noise. A few days later the intensity of the noise decreased, but it remains even today; and it still gets stronger if my head is in the lower position, or if I perform any physically intensive activity.

Also, at that time I noticed faint buzzing sound in my right ear, but it was so faint that I could only hear it if I was in a very quiet, soundless room. A year later this buzz got slightly louder, and I went to see my physician again, but I was told then that it would be best to wait and see how it develops, without any medication, but under my physician`s supervision. Unfortunately, a few months later, the buzz got even louder. If I remember well, just before it I had some viral infection, but I am not quite sure. That is when I started taking Trental 400, and after about six months of using it, the condition stabilized. Even the tonal diagram showed a stable state; actually my hearing was not damaged.

About a year ago I had a strong throat inflammation, and tinnitus increased again. I received intramuscular injections of vitamin B12, I took zinc, but not Trental. This state continued for almost a year, but about two months ago I had some urological problems and I used strong antibiotics (Ofloxacin). I think that after that my tinnitus mildly worsened. Also, I was using Trental 400 as intravenous infusions, and I using Gingko biloba extract, vitamin E, and zinc (per os).

Since my tinnitus appeared I’ve had no acoustic traumas, or heavier stress. I think that the beginning of my tinnitus is connected to infections and inflammations of the ear, which is something I am quite prone to. I don`t suffer from vertigo, and my tympanogramme is OK. Sometimes, when I get up quickly, the buzz increases. It lasts for about one to two minutes, and then it goes back to usual level. I have low blood pressure and according to my physician`s opinion it contributes to my bad blood circulation and tinnitus.

When I recently checked my hearing again, the results showed that there was no damage at all. So I believe that my tinnitus is connected with inflammations in ear and throat, and I suppose that my low blood pressure and my bad peripheral circulation also contribute to it significantly.

I need to inform you that I finished with using homeopathy remedies two weeks ago, but it didn`t have any improvement in my occasions.

Please Barry, can you tell me, what sort of remedies will you recommend to me (combo pack or something else), and what will you generally recommend to me?

Yours sincerely,
Dalibor M.

Dear Dalibor,

Thank you for your message. Everything you mention, inflammation, infection and antibiotics, are known to cause tinnitus. Ofloxacin is an antibiotic that can cause or increase tinnitus, however in only about 1% of people who use it.

It seems to me, as you suggest, the infections and antibiotics in combination with poor circulation are the cause of your tinnitus. Trental (pentoxifylline) is helpful for this as it increases circulation in much the same way as Ginkgo biloba. It decreases blood viscosity and allows the blood to flow easier into the microcapillaries that feed the eyes, ears and brain. Many European doctors use this treatment for tinnitus but not so many here in the US.

Ginkgo has the added advantages of being a powerful antioxidant and glutamate inhibitor. When the cochlea is damaged, as in most cases of tinnitus, it produces an excess of glutamate which becomes toxic to the neuro-receptors in the auditory nerve. These receptors begin to die and produce large amounts of free radicals, which cause most of the damage. Ginkgo helps reduce the amount of glutamate produced and also fights the ensuing free radicals. Trental does not have this capability. There have been clinical studies which show the superiority of Ginkgo over prescription medications that reduce blood viscosity.

We published an article earlier this year on Antioxidants, Health and Tinnitus which explains the role of free radicals in the creation of tinnitus in more detail.

The basic problem is the frequency of inflammation and infections that seems to plague you. Modern allopathic medicine is very good at treating the symptoms and ignoring the causes of problems such as this. If you can increase the effectiveness of your immune system, your body will fight off these infections before it becomes necessary for medical intervention. This is much easier said than done as the immune system is a complex mystery to even the best minds. The basics, of course, are good diet, plenty of exercise and high quality supplements, such as multivitamins and antioxidants, to provide the nutrients we don’t receive in our diet.

There has never been a single clinical study conducted on the effects of homeopathy on tinnitus. This is because there have never been any anecdotal stories of success. Clinical trials are very expensive and time consuming. Doctors and researchers are only interested in conducting clinical trials if they have a reason to believe it will be successful. I believe the main benefit of selling homeopathic remedies is that they are extremely inexpensive to manufacture. I have never heard of a single person with tinnitus who has been helped by homeopathy. They certainly sell a lot of their products though.

I recommend primarily Arches Tinnitus Formula and trying antioxidant vitamins (see article link above).  ATF provides therapeutic doses of our pharmaceutical-grade Ginkgo extract, Ginkgo Max 26/7, zinc picolinate and deodorized garlic. It must be used for three months (4 bottles) before it can be determined how effective it will be for tinnitus. We recommend Arches Tinnitus Starter Kit, which is a 100 day supply.

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.