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 2020 Ask Barry

“Solving” the Tinnitus Problem

Hi Barry,

I have really a loud and nasty ringing. I see an ENT doctor once a year (for the last 3) especially for hearing loss which I guess is moderate. She said that she doesn’t believe that tinnitus will be solved during her lifetime. I’m a senior, so am at the shorter end of my life span, but I’m just curious if that is true.

Thank you,
Cassie C.

Dear Cassie,

When your ENT says “solved”, she means a cure. She is correct in that we are a long way from a cure. Tinnitus represents neuronal death in the cochlea which reverberates through the auditory nerve to the auditory cortex. It is very complex and a cure may not be available until there is successful stem cell therapy.

Nonetheless, there are quite a few therapies that can reduce the loudness and aggravation of tinnitus. Most cases, including yours, are caused by hearing loss, which destroys the hair cells in the inner ear.

Many clinical studies have shown Ginkgo biloba extract to be effective in reducing the noise of tinnitus. One prominent Manhattan ENT states that 75 – 80% of his patients who have tinnitus due to hearing loss are helped by using Arches Tinnitus Formula and are satisfied with the results.

Other worthwhile therapies are biofeedback, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and modifications to diet and exercise. Articles on these therapies can be found in our Tinnitus Library.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Getting the Right Ginkgo… and Getting Ginkgo Right

Hi Barry,

I recently purchased your “Tinnitus Formula with Ginkgo Max 26/7” to control my tinnitus. I studied much of the subject matter on tinnitus relief and found that Ginkgo biloba combined with ECg 761 had a better result than other formulas without it.

I purchased the Starter Kit of your tinnitus formula but didn’t see any mention of ECg 761. Does your formula with Ginkgo Max 26/7 contain ECg 761 (as I assume) or, if not, do you have a ginkgo that does? Your response would be very welcomed.

Thank you!
Richard M.

Dear Richard,

You mean EGb 761. This is what ginkgo extract is called in Europe. It was named by the Dr. Wilmar Schwabe company in Germany that developed the first extract. In the US this is known as standardized Ginkgo biloba Extract 24/6 named for the amounts of flavonol glycosides and terpene lactones in the extract.

The Europeans are very strict in their regulation of dietary supplements. The US, not so much so. Consumer Labs has tested many ginkgo brands and found that 77% of them sold in the US do not contain the specific amounts of certain components required to qualify as the standardized extract. There are some good products that do contain everything required but there is no way to know for certain if you’re getting the good products or not.

Ginkgo Max 26/7Ò was developed by Arches to contain higher amounts of these components than required for EGb 761. It was designed specifically for people with tinnitus. It is a more highly refined and powerful extract that exceeds any other ginkgo product including EGb 761.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

How to Measure Your Tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

You mentioned your tinnitus was at 4,000 HZ. How was that measured? I have had pulsatile tinnitus with whooshing sounds for 15 years. I now have a hearing aid. To my knowledge, neither my ENT nor audiologist has ever measured the level of noise of my tinnitus. I would like to know what it is.

Thanks,
Monica B.

Dear Monica,

My tinnitus at 4,000 Hz doesn’t refer to the level of noise but the frequency. 4,000 Hz is a high frequency. Noise levels are described in decibels, or Db.

I have hearing loss at 4,000 Hz which was determined during a hearing test. Hearing loss is the primary culprit in most cases of tinnitus.

You have pulsatile tinnitus which is a whole different animal. Pulsatile tinnitus is due to turbulent blood flow, caused by a pinched artery, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, or other conditions that causes turbulence. Pulsatile tinnitus can be treated and often cured. You should consult with a vascular surgeon, who can identify the cause of the turbulence and treat it.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

May 2020 Ask Barry

Negative Ginkgo Report proves Questionable

Hi Barry,

I use your products religiously, but have a important question. My wife receives a “Health newsletter” and in this month’s edition they listed Ginkgo biloba as “avoid” using due to the National Toxicology Program report published in 2013 that there is evidence Ginkgo biloba caused liver cancer in mice and some evidence Ginkgo caused thyroid cancer in rats. Can you please respond to this study?

Thank you,
Walter B.

Dear Walter,

This is a controversial report from the National Toxicology Program. The American Botanical Council has called into question and refuted many of the assumptions of the report and urges people not to be misled by it.

First, the amount fed to the laboratory mice was an astounding 2,000 mg per kilogram (2.2 lbs) of body weight, taken every day over a period of 2 years. This is equivalent to me (at 165 lbs or 75 kg) taking 150,000 mg daily, an over 300-fold increase of my daily dosage. The total daily dosage of our proprietary ginkgo, Ginkgo Max 26/7®, in Arches Tinnitus Formula is 480 mg.

Second, the Ginkgo extract used was not a commercial preparation used in the United States or anywhere else. It was a sub-standard product from China that “did not conform to well established chemical profiles, quality and purity” of the leading extracts used in commercial Ginkgo biloba. The amounts of the individual components, ginkgo flavone glycosides, terpene lactones, bilobalide and ginkgolides were far in excess of anything found in commercial ginkgo. The extract itself has not been used in any commercial preparation.

Lastly, Ginkgo biloba has been used safely since its original formulation in the 1960’s by the Willmar Schwabe Co. of Germany. Tens of millions of people use ginkgo daily and it is the #2 prescribed medicine in Germany and France, where it is considered a prescription medication. It is one of the world’s most popular herbs. Were it to really cause cancer, we would have known this a long time ago. This report is an outlier and should not be considered representative of real-world conditions.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Clogged Ears, Terrible Tinnitus, and Hearing Music

Hi Barry,

I have had tinnitus since 1980. I am in chronic back and leg pain and take oxycodone with Tylenol. I am on an antidepressant which doesn’t seem to help me. Last summer, my hearing became much worse. And now I have new hearing aids and both my pain and hearing continue to worsen.

My left ear feels like it is clogging-up and feels horrible. The only relief for this is lying down and taking a sleeping pill. Audiologists and ENT doctors have been of no help.

I am stressed and hearing “music” in background with my tinnitus. Any ideas? This “clogged” feeling is just driving me mad.

Thanks,
Irene L.

Dear Irene,

You have brought up a series of questions. First of all, antidepressants are pretty notorious for causing hearing loss and tinnitus. Most modern SSRI antidepressants list tinnitus as a frequent side effect. So, your antidepressant may be causing the worsening hearing and increase in tinnitus. You could try to gradually wean yourself from this medication. Consult with your doctor about it because abruptly cutting it off can have negative effects.

There are many possible causes of a feeling of fullness, or clogging, in the ear. These range from Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, caused by flu, colds or allergies, to an infection in the middle ear, even to Meniere’s disease, which I don’t think you have or you would mention dizziness.

The music and singing voices is called Musical Ear Syndrome and is nothing to be afraid of. It usually occurs in older people who are also hard of hearing. The brain demands input and if it doesn’t get enough, it actually “makes up” sounds or remembers sounds from the past. One simple way to get this to calm down or go away is to make sure you have plenty of audio input. Play music in your home loud enough to hear and enjoy it.

I hope this information is helpful for you and you can start to enjoy life more.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Removing Dental Fillings Helps Tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

I’ve had tinnitus for 15 years. The buzzing in my head caused me to lose my job. Recently I had 12 amalgam fillings removed that Id had since I was 10 years old. I am at retirement age now. After the last three amalgams were removed my noise level has dropped from a 10 (loud buzzing) to a 2 (much more tolerable).

Could the amalgams of played a role in my tinnitus? I also have MS but am very active and eat organic. I feel the noise I have is more of a brain noise than any sort of ringing. Removal of the amalgam fillings I feel has really helped the buzzing to become more tolerable, could that be? Any studies on this?

Thank you,
Joan F.

Dear Joan,

Yes, it’s entirely possible removing the amalgam fillings are responsible for your decrease in tinnitus.

Amalgam dental fillings are commonly referred to as “silver fillings” but are really approximately 50% mercury. Silver comprises 25-35% of the filling and the balance is varying combinations of tin, copper and zinc. Mercury, which is liquid at room temperature, dissolves many other metals.

Mercury is an acknowledged neurotoxin. It is known that overtime mercury fillings can cause tinnitus and removing them can help. It may also help your MS. Here’s an article on amalgam fillings and tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

April 2020 Ask Barry

Fever-reducing Pain Meds and Tinnitus

Hi Barry,

Thanks for your terrific article about which over-the counter pain medications are contraindicated for tinnitus.

What about fever reducers? News reports about Covid-19 symptoms are full of advice to take acetaminophen if you have a fever, but it can exacerbate tinnitus. Any suggestions of what OTC med a tinnitus sufferer can take to reduce a fever without aggravating his tinnitus?

Thanks in advance for your attention,
Jerry P.

Dear Jerry,

There are no OTC fever reducing meds you can take that don’t have some potential to aggravate tinnitus.  Acetaminophen can aggravate it but it is lower on the list than the other NSAIDS and is what I use when I need pain relief.

Provided you don’t take a high dose over a long period of time, your chances of worsening tinnitus are slim. Acetaminophen can also damage the liver in high doses. The manufacturer says you should not take over 4,000 mg in one day and I would keep it a lot lower than that. I sometimes have knee pain and the drug works but I always keep the dosage below 2,500 mg. You can always take NAC in the dosage of 1,000 mg twice daily. This counteracts the ototoxicity of acetaminophen and is a very healthy antioxidant to use.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Panic Attacks Increasing Tinnitus Intensity

Hi Barry,

My tinnitus is so loud, I’ve had a panic attack going on six weeks. Can an ENT doctor help? When is too loud too loud? What can help decrease the sound? I’m losing it.

Kristi M.

Dear Kristi,

I’m really sorry your tinnitus is so bothersome. I know about panic attacks and they’re no fun.

The first thing to know is stress is the #1 aggravator of tinnitus. Stress will take a level 2 or 3 tinnitus and turn it into a level 8 or 9 overnight. I know it’’s extremely difficult to control but if you can lower your stress levels, the tinnitus should decrease as well.

Diet is another trigger for tinnitus, especially salt. Salt will dramatically increase tinnitus. Many people are unaware of this and consume salty snacks without knowing that’s what is triggering heightened tinnitus.

An ENT doctor will be able to test your hearing to see if that is the cause. Hearing loss is responsible for about 80% of those with tinnitus. However the ENT probably won’t have anything to offer for this. And it may be caused by other conditions, such as hypothyroidism, TMJ or other medical condition that an ENT won’t be familiar with. It may be best to have a full medical workup by your family doctor to see if something else is causing it.

Arches Tinnitus Formula is helpful for most people with tinnitus. Arches Tinnitus Formula has been shown in numerous clinical trials to reduce tinnitus loudness for most people who use it. It is especially helpful for those who have tinnitus due to hearing loss and/or noise exposure. It can also be helpful for those who have tinnitus due to toxic medications. One prominent Manhattan ENT says he has a 75-80% success rate with these patients using Arches Tinnitus Formula.

It takes three months to get the full benefit so we recommend Arches Tinnitus Starter Kit, a full three-month supply of four bottles. You can purchase each bottle separately but the Starter Kit offers a significant price discount and you don’t have to worry about running out during the critical three-month period.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Dietary Tinnitus Triggers?

Hi Barry,

I have been taking the Tinnitus Formula since Feb. 19. Last week my tinnitus got worse, making it hard to focus. Is it normal for it to get worse before it gets better?

Are there specific vitamins, minerals, and foods that are known to be triggers to make the tinnitus worse?

Thanks!
Diane M

Dear Diane,

No, this is not normal and it’s very likely caused by something else. I have been getting a lot of messages from people whose tinnitus has spiked in the last couple of weeks. In many cases this spike in tinnitus intensity is caused by additional stress from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic with the necessity to shelter in place, and the isolation of social distancing.

Stress is the #1 trigger for tinnitus and can worsen it significantly. When the stress recedes, tinnitus tends to go back to its previous level.

There are a lot of foods that can worsen tinnitus. Fast food contains high amounts of sodium, which makes tinnitus worse. Sodas, especially diet sodas, should not be consumed as the artificial sweeteners in most can trigger tinnitus.

I hope this is helpful and your tinnitus reduces.

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.