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Ask Barry Questions on Tinnitus

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.

June 2024 Ask Barry

A “Honey” of Tinnitus

Hello Barry,

Thirteen years ago I wrote to you about my tinnitus, it is non-stop; a type of musical sounding, choir-like humming. It can get very loud and also sounds like an engine running all the time. I wear two hearing aids for quite a few years. Recently, I read something about honey (causing tinnitus). I have honey on my cereal each day could that be a lot of the cause?

Thank you,
Hazel D.

Dear Hazel,

Thank you for your question. I doubt that honey on your cereal would cause this. That said, excess sugar, especially if you are diabetic, can and does cause tinnitus. Adhering to a diet suitable for diabetics can reduce the noise level. We have an article on the subject: 5 Types of Sugar Substitutes: What to Avoid If You Have Tinnitus.

However, I don’t think you have that kind of tinnitus. What you are describing is musical tinnitus, or musical ear syndrome. Many people who are hard of hearing have this and some people actually like it. This occurs when the brain does not have sufficient sound input and it creates its own. The sounds can be anything from choral humming to TV ads.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Severe Bilateral Tinnitus

Dear Barry,

For the past 20 years I’ve suffered from severe bilateral tinnitus. I’m 66 years old and the ringing never stops. Past use of medication for depression and other doctor’s prescriptions may have contributed to my current hearing loss as well as severe tinnitus.

I only heard of your products today from an audiologist in Temple Texas. I use over the counter B-12, but your product may be better for me. I may try all of your products; B-12, Stress, Tinnitus, & Sleep. I have not used your products, but I’d sure like to see if I could get some relief. I’m retired from Federal Service and cannot hold or find a suitable job with my hearing, as well as a nerve disorder. Please let me know more about these products

James J.

Dear James,

Thank you for your question and your interest in Arches Tinnitus Formulas.

I developed these products to help with my own tinnitus. While Vitamin B12 can be helpful for some with tinnitus, our most important product is Arches Tinnitus Formula. If you only use one of our products, this should be the one. It consists of Ginkgo biloba Extract, zinc and odor controlled garlic.

Ginkgo biloba and zinc have both been confirmed in clinical studies to reduce tinnitus. Although they are not a cure, they can be helpful in reducing tinnitus sound levels. This is especially true for those who have tinnitus from hearing loss, like you and me. There are some disease conditions which cause tinnitus and Tinnitus Formula may be helpful for them but not as much as for those with hearing loss, which is the great majority of those with tinnitus. Arches Tinnitus Formula must be used for a minimum of 3 months before you can gauge how effective it will be for you.

We have developed a Ginkgo biloba Extract that has a higher concentration of the active ingredients than you can find anywhere else. We have trademarked this Ginkgo Max 26/7 to distinguish it from the more common extraction termed 24/6. Ginkgo Max 26/7 was designed specifically for people with tinnitus concentrating those ingredients that are most effective in reducing tinnitus. You can read more about Ginkgo Max 26/7 in this article.

Our other products are designed to support the Tinnitus Formula. Our Tinnitus Stress Formula and B12 Formula consist of high dosage B vitamins, which are necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system. A study conducted in Israel on Army personnel with tinnitus found the majority of them were deficient in Vitamin B12.

Our B12 is an advanced form called methylcobalamin. This is more effective than the older form called cyanocobalamin. The Stress Formula consists of capsules of which you take 2 per day. The B12 Formula is a sublingual lozenge that is allowed to dissolve under the tongue. This is because B12 is poorly absorbed when swallowed but much better absorbed directly from the mouth.

A high dose time-release melatonin helps people sleep better. Because it’s time-release, people are able to stay asleep longer and wake refreshed. Studies have shown melatonin to be very helpful for those with severe tinnitus. Because they sleep better, they are better able to concentrate during the day and feel better, not paying as much attention to the tinnitus sounds.

You can find all of these products and read about what is in them in our Tinnitus Store.

If you would like to read more about me and my struggle with tinnitus, please read Barry Keate’s Story of Tinnitus: Treatment and Relief.

I hope this is helpful for you. If you have any further questions, please send them to me.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Hospital Roulette – What Caused Her Tinnitus?

Dear Barry,

You helped me enormously last year when an MRI caused tinnitus. I recovered well thanks to taking your advice. Sadly, I have once again had a setback.

I was in hospital for a couple of days with severe abdominal pains eventually traced to my lower back problems. During that stay i was given oral morphine just once and two IV drips of paracetamol and one diclofenac rectally. I worried about their effects and refused codeine and more NSAIDs despite a lot of pain. The day after I returned home I noticed more tinnitus in my left ear which was very mild before and tinnitus in my right which I never had plus the return of the pressure sensation in my right.

I am so upset worried and don’t know which drug caused it or was it noise in the ward from bleeping monitors though to be honest it did not seem unduly loud. Have you any experience of others having this problem? I know I have not had a long duration of these meds but since my original acoustic trauma I have been very careful what I took but I was in severe pain.

I wanted if this was likely to be permanent or temporary of course no one can say for, sure but I know how knowledgeable you are on this subject. Also what can I do to help myself? I can even hear it over the TV which I never have before. It is not screaming but I seem to be sensitive to it.

I would appreciate any advice


Dear Veronica,

I’m very sorry for your pain and discomfort and hope it has been reduced or eliminated.

Opioids don’t cause tinnitus and paracetamol is just acetaminophen, the ingredient in Tylenol. Diclofenac, a non-steriodal anti-inflammatory lists tinnitus as a common side effect so I think this is the culprit here. Beeping monitors are not loud enough to cause hearing damage.

This is most likely a temporary condition and it should reduce over time. You can help it go down by taking antioxidants. I recommend Arches Tinnitus Formula, 4 capsules daily, and N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC). I don’t know if I recommended that after the MRI but NAC is a strong antioxidant and should help lower the sound level. NAC is very inexpensive and found in most health food stores. I would try 1,000 mg taken twice daily. Arches Tinnitus Formula will also help to lower the sound level. You may need to take both of these for a couple of months.

Whenever you take any unknown medication, it will be best if you use both of these beforehand. This will prevent toxic effects from medications that can damage your hearing.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

May 2024 Ask Barry

Can Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Help Tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

What is your take on transcranial magnetic treatment? When people can’t do antidepressant meds because none appear to be user friendly, this approach is an option.

Not sure if this is wise. It appears that when someone suffering tinnitus can’t even get this treatment covered by their insurance company. In fact the only way it can be approved is when the tinnitus sufferer is classified as a manic depressed person that the insurance might cover the claim.

Kind of frightening, you think?
Faye C.

Dear Faye,

Thank you for your question. Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) has been studied for many different conditions, including tinnitus, and shows great promise. It was originally developed as an alternative to electro shock therapy for people with intractable depression and it seems to work well for this.

rTMS has been under intense study for some time now. Unfortunately, in the United States, the FDA has not approved it for any use other than Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and  repetitive Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD). It’s important to note that insurance coverage for rTMS Therapy can vary widely depending on the insurance plan and provider. That is why insurance companies won’t cover the treatment for tinnitus. The procedure is still being refined with several parameters under close scrutiny to develop the most effective combination of power, wavelength, pulse duration, coil design and other variables. This is similar to the development of cochlear implants for deaf people. It took decades of biomedical engineering before the process was refined enough for clinical applications.

For more information, please read our article on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation for Tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Crackling in the Ears

Dear Barry,

I have successfully used your tinnitus formula for about the last eight months. Earlier, the sound was at a very high frequency, but appears to have been circulatory in nature. Recently however, it has come back but to a lesser extent. I am also hearing a crackling noise in the inner ear, almost like something was moving around in my right ear. It may be Eustachian tube related based on some internet research I’ve done. What should I do?


Dear Josh,

I’m very happy Arches Tinnitus Formula has helped you. The crackling in your ear could likely be due to Eustachian tube dysfunction. This could also increase your tinnitus. Your Eustachian tube is most likely blocked, a condition called otitis media.

I recommend you see an Ear, Nose & Throat physician. Treatments are typically painless and non-invasive and revolve around use of a prescription nasal spray and an antihistamine.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Tinnitus Gets Worse After a Nap

Dear Barry,

Whenever I wake up from a nap, the ringing in my ears is more intense. Is there a reason for this?


Dear Angela,

You have what is called somatic tinnitus. This is when signals from the body become entangled with auditory signals in an area of the brain called the dorsal cochlear nucleus. These signals can cause or worsen tinnitus. Two of the most common conditions that cause this are muscle spasm in the neck and TMJ dysfunction. Muscle spasms occur in the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle which extends from the ear down to the neck and helps in turning the head. TMJ dysfunction is when the lower jaw is out of alignment with the skull at the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) below the ear. One of these is most likely the cause of worsening your tinnitus and they are both treatable.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

April 2024 Ask Barry

Sinus Allergies and Tinnitus Relief

Hi Barry,

I was wondering what your thoughts are on people who have sinus allergies and if it causes tinnitus to be worse? I have had a runny and stopped up nose most of my life and feel it contributes to the ringing. Does your formula help with clearing the sinus cavity? Is it harmful to take OTC allergy meds and/or do they interfere with tinnitus?

Thanks for your help and I’m constantly on a quest to get some relief.
Gina L.

Dear Gina,

Sinus allergies can definitely cause tinnitus and may be at the root of yours. Our products don’t help with sinus problems.

You should see an Ear, Nose & Throat physician. Typical treatments for this include a prescription nasal spray, such as Flonase, and an antihistamine.

Some over-the-counter allergy meds can cause or worsen tinnitus. You can find out which by searching for the medication by name and the term “tinnitus”.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Reduce tinnitus with a hearing aid?

Hi  Barry,

I have had tinnitus for years! One doctor suggested that I get a hearing aid with “a counter rhythm sound.” Any comment on that suggestion?

Michael J.

Dear Michael,

I’m not sure what the doctor meant by “counter rhythm”. I can’t find anything about a hearing aid with this term attached. Perhaps your doctor meant something with a rhythmic tone included in the device.

There is a hearing aid manufacturer named Widex that makes a device which includes what are termed “fractal tones”. These tones sound something like a wind chime only they are electronically generated and repeat a never ending pattern of sounds. The device is called the Widex Zen and it has been on the market for a few years.

These wind chime-like tones are designed to stimulate the brain and remove negative emotions associated with tinnitus. It is also a hearing aid which can amplify ambient sounds to help mask the tinnitus.

There is some clinical evidence that these instruments can be helpful in reducing scores of the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI). This questionnaire shows researchers how much tinnitus affects the lives of those who have it. The clinical trial I found combined use of the hearing aid with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and a relaxation program. The therapy and relaxation program are at least partly responsible for the lowering of the THI scores. The only way to tell if the instrument is effective is to run a trial without the additional therapies.

I have listened to a Widex Zen during a demonstration at a convention of Ear, Nose and Throat physicians. It was somewhat annoying to me and I don’t think I could listen to it for long. I’ve read that some people react to it as calming.

Widex Zen instruments cost between $1,00 to $3500. Most hearing aids have a return policy of 30 days during which time you do not need to pay for them unless you decide to keep them.

If you wish to try one of these, contact an Audiologist for a trial.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Tamiflu and Tinnitus

Hi Barry,

I’ve come down with the flu and just started taking an oral anti-viral medication called Tamiflu. I also restarted your recommended anti-oxidant regimen of Vitamin C, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Ubiquinol, and L Methionine, in addition to NAC and your Tinnitus Formula.

I have noticed my tinnitus being louder since starting Tamiflu.

Should the antioxidants give me protection from ototoxicity, and would you expect the level of my tinnitus to drop back to baseline after finishing the Tamiflu?

Thank you for your help!

David F.

Hi David,

I cannot find any reference to Tamiflu causing tinnitus. This doesn’t mean that it didn’t cause your increase; many side effects aren’t discovered for a long time. It does mean, though, that it is not a powerful ototoxic drug or that would have been discovered by now.

I think you are pretty safe from any possible long-term damage if you continue with these antioxidants. Make sure you take 1,000 mg of NAC twice daily. Your tinnitus should decline after discontinuing the Tamiflu.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

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