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 2022 Ask Barry

How long until tinnitus relief?… Will Omega-3 help?

Hi Barry,

I have been suffering with tinnitus in my left ear for approximately five months now. I have started watching my salt and sugar intake and am also beginning my third of four bottles of your Tinnitus Formula. I have yet to show much improvement, but I do have some good days. I do have plans to start taking Omega-3 because my left ear seems to be irritated quite a bit.

Do you think there will come a point in time when I will be able to block the tinnitus out of my mind, or is this something that will be there when I go to bed and when I wake up, as it is now? I have an awful time at night because I can’t sleep due to the noise. Any recommendations will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
Joyce R.

Dear Joyce,

Thanks for your question. Since you are currently starting the third bottle of Arches Tinnitus Formula, typically it is a little early to see results. ENT doctors tell their patients to use it for at least 100 days (4 bottles) before determining how effective it will be. You have been using it for approximately 50-60 days. Given you have early onset tinnitus, you should notice a difference in the next month. Clinical trials show that early onset tinnitus, within one year of beginning, often have a better outcome than long-standing tinnitus. I hope you get significant relief in the next month or so.

Omega-3 is always a good idea. The typical American diet is way out of balance with the majority of Omega fatty acids consumed being Omega-6. Omega-3 should help reduce any inflammation you may have and hopefully will help the irritation in your ear. You need to take a significant amount and many researchers suggest a minimum of 3 grams per day of combined Omega 3 up to 10 grams per day. Be careful not to take this much if you are using Cod Liver Oil as the Omega 3 source. This has a high amount of Vitamin A on which you can overdose.

Everything you do that improves health will also help reduce tinnitus. Diet is very important, and we have an important article on how diet affects tinnitus. And I totally empathize with your difficulty getting to sleep, but there are certain things you can do that will help. Please read our article on Tinnitus-Induced Insomnia.

“Blocking the tinnitus” is not a term I feel comfortable with. It implies that recovery is a matter of will power, which it’s not, although meditation and mindfulness can be helpful. The ideal situation is where the tinnitus subsides enough that it doesn’t bother you any more. I go to bed and wake up with tinnitus every day but I rarely pay attention to it because it is now greatly reduced. Hopefully you will have the same experience.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Flying to Disney World

Hi Barry

Hope your Christmas holidays were cheerful, wholesome and rewarding. Question: My family (excluding me because of my tinnitus) are flying to Florida in January from New York to Disney World. They excluded me because of my tinnitus. I know you’ve dealt with this issue before from readers and from personal experience. Does the jet cabin air pressure play havoc with our tinnitus? If it does, is it a temporary condition that reverts to the tinnitus condition(s) prior to the flight? I’d like to go next year but if it means that air travel aggravates tinnitus, then I’ll forego the idea!

Thanks,
Ken

Hi Ken,

I wouldn’t forego a trip to Disney World because of your tinnitus. In the first place, the noise of large airplanes is a low roar. Most people have high frequency tinnitus and a low roar doesn’t affect it. To be safe, purchase some foam rubber ear plugs in a supermarket or online. The noise is loudest during takeoff so this is the time to use them. You can use them throughout the flight if the noise continues to bother you.

The bigger problem is pressure changes in the cabin. I usually take a decongestant or antihistamine before flying so my ears will pop easily. It’s also a good idea to take along some chewing gum. This helps ears pop and adjust to the pressure changes. You don’t want to fly if you have a severe cold unless you can make sure your ears will pop easily. You can learn more about your options in our article Flying with Tinnitus.

I fly frequently and don’t have any problems. I’m sure you’ll be fine also.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Anesthesia and Tinnitus

Dear Barry,

Thank you for taking my question. I think it is great what you are doing for those of us with tinnitus – offering a sense of hope and community.

My question has to with the connection between tinnitus and anesthesia. I am going into surgery in January, and I was told I would be put under general anesthesia, “out cold!” I already suffer from tinnitus, and I am curious if anesthesia exacerbates tinnitus or if it is a side effect. If so, what precautions can I take beforehand? I also read about the connection between tinnitus and antibiotics. I will surely be receiving high doses of antibiotics. Is there something I can do for this, to?

Thank you,
Luana

Hi Luana,

Thanks for submitting this question.  You didn’t mention which drug you were given but a few 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.

There is a very rare occurrence of a certain low frequency tinnitus that can occur after spinal anesthesia but it does not occur with general anesthesia.

You will need to discontinue the Arches Tinnitus Formula (ATF) for at least a week before the surgery to minimize the possibility of excess bleeding. You can resume ATF shortly after surgical bleeding stops.

Antibiotics can present a problem. Some antibiotics are more ototoxic than others and you should discuss with your doctor which medication you will be using and the occurrence of tinnitus with the specific antibiotic. Several years back, I had an injection of an extremely potent antibiotic in response to a skin infection I developed. I discussed this with my doctor and he told me the specific antibiotic used did not cause or increase tinnitus. He seemed pretty knowledgeable about it and I had no increase. If your doctor is not knowledgeable about this, ask him to look it up in his Physicians Desk Reference (PDR).

To be on the safe side, you should begin taking antioxidants along with the antibiotic. You can begin the ATF again at the same time. It is a powerful antioxidant and should greatly reduce the chances of any damage to your hearing.

You can also take N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC), which has been shown to reduce effects from ototoxic medications and sound trauma provided it is taken simultaneously. Popularly known as NAC, it is very inexpensive.

In July of 2022, the FDA had announced that NAC should not be sold without a prescription from a doctor, although it has been sold over-the-counter and used safely for more than 30 years. While Amazon has taken it off their site, it can still be found at many reputable online stores and many health food stores.The Natural Products Association has sued the FDA to repeal their edict calling it “a reckless misuse of government resources and will do nothing to protect public health.”

I have taken NAC for decades and recommend 500 mg, taken two or three times daily. Continue using it for two weeks after the antibiotic is stopped. I’m certain that with these precautions you will be fine.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Luana’s responds:

Oh, my, you are a plethora of info! I didn’t even think about asking the doctor about any ototoxic antibiotics. I will, indeed! Thanks for the info on the NAC. Would you mind posting your response to my question in your next newsletter for others to read? I think it may be helpful.

Thank you so very very very much…. Arches–and you–rock!!

Luana

December 2021 Ask Barry

Ginkgo, the liver and strokes

Hi Barry,

My acupuncturist said long term use of ginkgo can affect the liver and possibility of stroke. could Could you comment on this? I have used your products for several years with success.

Thank You,
Bill M.
Lethbridge, Alberta

Dear Bill,

I don’t know where your acupuncturist received this information but it is incorrect. There have been numerous clinical studies conducted on ginkgo and they found no changes in hormone balance or sugar metabolism, meaning it is safe for diabetics. They also found no disturbances in the formation of new blood cells or the functioning of the liver and kidneys, even after long-term use.

As for the possibility of stroke, the opposite of what your acupuncturist said is true. Ginkgo improves the tone and elasticity of the blood vessels that bring blood to the brain. Ginkgo also reduces PAF (platelet aggregating factor). Excessive PAF activity causes blood platelets to stick together and helps cause plaque build-up on blood vessel walls, which results in atherosclerosis and other circulatory problems, and blood clots that can cause heart attack and stroke.

By reducing PAF activity, Ginkgo affects blood exactly the same way as the prescription medication Plavix. It reduces blood viscosity, plaque build-up on artery walls and blood clots. It is extremely heart and brain healthy and supports healthy circulation.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

The weather, diuretics and tinnitus

Hi Barry,

Let me start by telling you that I have been taking your product for about 3 weeks. I have had tinnitus for about 7 or 8 years. Interestingly the weather often affects my tinnitus. My wife often said I could predict the weather better than weathermen. The day before storms my tinnitus would intensify. I never have seen any information relating to this and wondered whether there are any references to this?

About 6 weeks ago I was reading about medications affecting tinnitus, specifically loop diuretics. I was taking a blood pressure medication with a diuretic although not a loop diuretic. When I saw my doctor he felt we should switch to the blood pressure med without the diuretic and a separate loop diuretic (Lasix). My tinnitus worsened coinciding with this new med change. So I went back to previous medications but this has had no effect so I guess the loop diuretic was not the cause. My question to you is does any of this make any sense, have you heard of similar situations and do you have any suggestions?

Thanks,
Bob

Hi Bob,

Many people have tinnitus that responds to atmospheric pressure changes. This is not at all unusual. Before storms occur the pressure drops and can make some tinnitus worse. Some people report when they travel to a higher altitude their tinnitus worsens for the same reason.

The loop diuretic was most likely the cause of your worsening tinnitus. Lasix is ototoxic, meaning toxic to the ears. It can cause hearing loss and tinnitus. You were very wise to discontinue the use of this diuretic as soon as you suspected a problem.

B. Todd Troost, MD, former Professor and Chairman of Neurology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, states on his website, iVertigo.net:

“Loop diuretics are organic compounds that exert potential saliuretic effects by acting on the epithelial cells in the loop of Henle of the kidney. Unfortunately, many of the loop diuretics are ototoxic, both in clinical reports and experimental studies. Ethacrynic acid, a potent loop diuretic, is recognized as causing acute and sometimes permanent hearing loss. One of the most widely used loop diuretics today, furosemide or Lasix, has a significant potential for hearing loss. Heidland and Wigand found that infusion of furosemide at a constant rate of 25 mg per minute caused noticeable hearing loss in two thirds of patients. Although most cases of furosemide ototoxicity have been reversible, a number of reports describe patients with permanent deficits. Other loop diuretics also have potential ototoxicity. One of its most significant problems is the potentiation of aminoglycoside ototoxicity by the concurrent use of loop diuretics as previously noted. As Rybak points out, perhaps the kidney and the cochlea have some common receptors for the loop diuretics and it appears that all loop diuretics are ototoxic to some degree.”

Lasix can also be found on the list of medications that cause or worsen tinnitus.

I believe that the damage caused is reversible, especially since you stopped using it after a short period. You were also taking far less than the 25 mg per minute cited above. Arches Tinnitus Formula® provides neuroprotection and antioxidant effects as well as reducing the tinnitus sound level.

There are other supplements that can help repair damage caused by ototoxic medications which are discussed in our article on neurotoxins. My suggestion is that you continue using Arches TF. I see that you purchased four bottles as a three month supply. This should be sufficient to reduce your tinnitus to its previous level and perhaps lower.

Those of us with tinnitus must learn to examine closely any prescription medications we begin using. All too often doctors are not aware of the ototoxic properties of prescribed medicines and it is up to us to take charge of our health care and be informed about possible side effects. I will not take any new medication without researching it thoroughly and determining that it will not worsen my tinnitus.

In your case, the effects of Lasix should be completely reversible, due to the short time of usage.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Tinnitus and food allergies

Dear Barry,

I have been dealing continuously with tinnitus for about 1 1/2 years now. A few years ago I very suddenly developed a severe allergy to oranges and the juice. Since that time I have been keenly aware of the effects that foods could have (on my tinnitus). With this in mind, I cut out various foods at times and waited for a change, if any. After several trials, I came to the conclusion that when foods containing oats were avoided the severity and length of my tinnitus attacks seemed to be reduced (but never eliminated).

Have you heard of other tinnitus sufferers being able to reduce their problem by avoiding certain foods?

By the way, in the past couple of weeks, I have started taking your Arches Tinnitus Formula and I am hoping for the best…stay tuned. Also, I enjoy reading your articles…keep up the good work. Anyway, what are your thoughts on food allergy triggers?

Brad
Ontario, Canada

Dear Brad,

Allergies are a common cause of tinnitus and other reactions. Food borne allergies are not at all uncommon in people with tinnitus although I don’t have any. I have noise induced hearing loss which is the cause of my tinnitus.

I looked up oat grain on a few sites and found it is a gluten grain, much like wheat. Many people are allergic to wheat and this can carry over to oats as well. You may do well to experiment with reducing wheat and see if that helps your tinnitus also.

Allergic reactions cause the immune system to spring into action and white blood cells rush to the area resulting in inflammation. Inflammation swells membranes and can create numerous medical problems in the body including tinnitus. Reducing inflammation should help reduce tinnitus sounds.

Numerous studies have shown that Ginkgo biloba extract reduces the inflammation caused by allergic reactions. Fish oil is also very beneficial in reducing inflammation. Many people with arthritis, an inflammatory condition, have been able to reduce their use of pain killers by regular use of fish oil supplements.

I recommend you experiment with wheat and see if this is also part of the problem. Continue with the Arches Tinnitus Formula and add about 3,000 mg of fish oil supplements to your regimen. This should significantly reduce any allergic reactions you’re having and improve your tinnitus. Eating a healthy diet in general can improve tinnitus. You may want to read our article Diet and Tinnitus: What to Eat and What to Avoid.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

November 2021 Ask Barry

Follow-up Research on Tinnitus Formula?

Hi Barry,

I ordered Arches Tinnitus Combo Pack this morning in hopes of alleviating the RINGING IN MY EARS! I have not seen an ENT doctor yet (my appointment is on Dec. 13th), however my neighbor went to an ENT doc recently for her tinnitus, and he recommended your product.

Can you tell me what statistics you have compiled and/or what follow-up you have done with those who have purchased your products? Do you do follow-up research with everyone who purchases your tinnitus formulas?

Thanks very much,
Donna V.

Dear Donna,

We are not able to do follow up comparisons with all of our customers. Being in retail business, we have a significant percentage of people who are non-compliant to the recommended protocol. Many people will learn that in order to determine total effectiveness of Arches Tinnitus Formula they must try it for 100 days (4 bottles) but then stop after only one bottle because “it didn’t work.” There is no way we would be able to sort out compliant and non-compliant customers. After more than 22 years in business we have thousands of repeat customers.

We rely on clinical studies conducted on the ingredients used in ATF. There are over 35 clinical studies on Ginkgo biloba alone showing efficacy for tinnitus. You can view numerous clinical studies are on our website.

There are now over 2,000 ENT physicians who refer their tinnitus patients to us. Darius Kohan MD, a specialist in otologic surgery in New York, and a faculty member at several major medical centers, stated in the Medco Forum 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.” Personally I have experienced a 70% reduction in my tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Could Hydrops with Tinnitus be Meniere’s Disease?

Dear Barry,

Lately I have been reading quite a bit about Endolymphatic Hydrops and cochlear Meniere’s Disease (a.k.a. cochlear hydrops), which apparently are symptoms of Meniere’s disease or endolymphatic hydrops without the vertigo. In other words, I guess its having fluctuating hearing loss, fluctuating aural fullness and fluctuating tinnitus. My question is: How does one know if you have this cochlear hydrops or just straight tinnitus?

In reading the literature, it sounds like this Endolymphatic Hydrops is progressive and gradually destroys the hearing mechanism whereas tinnitus is just bothersome and traumatic, but in no way are you gradually losing your hearing. Meniere’s disease includes attacks as does straight tinnitus. I am very confused on the line between these two conditions. It seems that the two conditions, i.e. hydrops and tinnitus are very closely related and may overlap each other.

Sincerely,
Bob S.

Dear Bob,

You are correct in saying Endolymphatic Hydrops and tinnitus can be closely related. Endolymphatic Hydrops is an increase in fluid pressure within the inner ear which is also called Meniere’s disease. It is characterized by a feeling of fullness in the ears, varying degrees of hearing loss, bouts of vertigo and tinnitus. Meniere’s disease will cause hearing loss and tinnitus in almost all cases but hearing loss and tinnitus do not cause Meniere’s disease.

The best way to determine if you have this condition is to see an Ear, Nose and Throat physician. They typically diagnose based on the presence of four simultaneous symptoms; vertigo, fullness in the ear, fluctuating hearing loss and tinnitus. There are some new tests available that provide objective proof of the condition. In one, the use of diuretics to improve the condition is used. In the other, auditory brainstem response to clicking sounds is measured.

Meniere’s disease is treatable. If you think you may have this condition, you should consult with an ENT.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Alpha Lipoic Acid and Tinnitus

Hi Barry,

I am currently taking Alpha Lipoic Acid. I am not taking it with CoQ10. This stuff is very expensive. Is it necessary to take CoQ10 and ALA together or is one of these enough? I currently use your Tinnitus Formula and it is great.

Thanks,
Ric L.

Hi Ric,

Alpha Lipoic Acid is a wonderful supplement to use. It is a universal antioxidant and is a co-factor in vital energy producing reactions in the body. CoQ-10 is also involved in energy producing reactions and is vital to heart health. You are right that it is expensive and many people cannot afford to use it.

For many years the only form of CoQ10 on the market has been the ubiquinone form. This is the oxidized form of the molecule and the body must neutralize it before it can be absorbed and utilized. In 2007, the ubiquinol form was developed, which is the reduced form (not oxidized) which can be immediately absorbed and used by the body.

One of my favorite combinations is Acetyl-L-Carnitine (500 mg) and Alpha Lipoic Acid (150 mg). Acetyl-L-Carnitine is also fairly expensive but not like CoQ10.  There have been a lot of studies conducted on these two components that show they work synergistically to produce energy, protect neurons and provide antioxidant protection. This is very important for improved hearing health.

For a more detailed discussion of these supplements, please see our article on Neurotoxins and Tinnitus. Combinations of Acetyl-L-Carnitine and Alpha Lipoic Acid can be found online and in some better health food stores.

To answer your question of whether it’s OK to use Alpha Lipoic Acid by itself, the answer is yes. It is a great supplement and provides universal antioxidant protection.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

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