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.

April 2021 Ask Barry

Will ringing in ear from COVID vaccine go away?

Hi Barry,

After taking my 2nd shot of the Pfizer vaccine, I am experiencing an increase in the ringing in my left ear. I have tinnitus only in my left ear; my right ear is OK, no ringing. I just finished reading a site where about 100 entries complained about the vaccines and the increase of ringing, fullness in the ear and ear pressure.

So what is your prediction, will it go away or is it permanent? The site I referenced had a couple of people state that in 4 to 6 weeks the ringing got better.

Robert H.

Dear Robert,

I think this is quite rare and it should resolve. I had my second vaccination two weeks ago and I got sick the day after. That cleared up within another day and I have no other side effects.

Dr. Steven Rauch, Vice Chair for Clinical Research at Harvard Medical School says he has seen some episodes of hearing loss after vaccination. But, he says, they are always seeing hearing loss and it is impossible to discern if there is any change above the normal occurrence.

Said Dr. Rauch: “These effects seem to occur within the first two weeks post-injection and sometimes within just a few days. They appear to be temporary. The actual likelihood of this phenomenon and its clinical course are not well-defined — it’s just too soon to know.”

I hope your condition resolves and returns to its previous level. You can read our recent article based on Fall 2020 research on the COVID virus, hearing loss and tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Nutrients for “explosion” in her ear?

Good Morning Barry (I am in Australia).

I just wanted to firstly say how much I enjoy your very informative responses and articles.

I contracted tinnitus last November when awaking one morning with something similar to an explosion in my ear. It was terrifying to say the least. The buzz has lessened slightly but is much worse in the mornings and evenings.

I would like your opinion on some nutrients for the ear I have been offered. They are: colloidal minerals in liquid form; antioxidants – vitamins A,C and E; Ginkgo biloba; grape seed extract; pine bark extract; and circuminoids.

I would be very pleased if you could give your opinion as to whether these would be suitable for tinnitus and provide all the benefits to ease or eradicate the very debilitating noise.

Thank you so much,
Kind regards,
Celestine H.

Dear Celestine,

I’m sorry this has happened to you. Our article on “Sudden Brief Tinnitus” may be of some help.

I don’t personally know about colloidal minerals but the noted MD for natural treatments, Dr. Andrew Weil, wrote “To me these supplements exemplify obnoxious multilevel marketing in the name of natural medicine …and I have not seen convincing evidence of any therapeutic benefit from taking colloidal minerals.”

First, I think you should go in for a general checkup. There are many things that can cause tinnitus and some are medical conditions. Hearing loss is the largest contributor to tinnitus but others, such as diabetes and hypothyroidism, also cause it and treatments for these conditions, (if you have them), can help calm tinnitus, sometimes to a great degree.

Antioxidants generally are great to take for tinnitus. When hearing cells are damaged, they produce large amounts of free radicals. Other than Ginkgo, the ones you mention may not directly reduce tinnitus but Vitamins A, C, and E are all good antioxidants. Grape seed extract, pine bark extract and anti-inflammatory curcuminoids like tumeric are also helpful.

You should add zinc picolinate to your menu. The highest concentration of zinc in the body is found in the cochlea and zinc has demonstrated the ability to reduce tinnitus. Zinc picolinate has the highest bioavailability of all zinc compounds.

Ginkgo biloba is very helpful for tinnitus. It helps in three ways; increased circulation, antioxidant activity, and glutamate antagonism. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that is responsible for overexciting the auditory pathway and causing tinnitus. Bilobalide is one of the active ingredients of Ginkgo biloba and helps neutralize glutamate.

Arches Tinnitus Formula contains Ginkgo Max 26/7, our proprietary ginkgo. It has the highest concentration of flavone glycosides, terpene lactones and bilobalide found in any product in the world and is very helpful for reducing tinnitus, especially in those who have hearing loss as the primary cause.

Arches Tinnitus Formula also uses zinc picolinate, and reduced odor garlic as it’s other two main ingredients. You must use it for three months to get the full effect so we recommend the Tinnitus Starter Kit, which contains the recommended three-month supply of the Tinnitus Formula.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Auditory Damage, Imbalance and Tinnitus

Hi Barry,

I have been diagnosed with auditory nerve damage in both ears. One is a bit worse than the other. It came on over the course of a few weeks, causing moderate tinnitus and significant imbalance.

Over the last four years, it has greatly improved but both conditions persist. I am at a livable spot with it although I am still searching for ways to reduce the symptoms. I was originally told that it was most likely caused by a virus that entered the ear, but later told by a second doctor that since it had affected both ears, they doubted it was a virus. No answers. Just that it is what it is.

Would love to hear your thoughts on how Arches might help me.

Thank you,
Craig Z.

Dear Craig,

I’m very sorry to hear this. It sounds like Meniere’s disease, which presents as vertigo, a low-pitched humming or ringing and frequently, ear fullness. Do you have any ear fullness? However, I would think that the specialists you’ve seen would pick up on this, if that’s what it is. If its a high-pitched ringing, that would indicate hearing loss, perhaps caused by noise exposure

If this is the case, Arches Tinnitus Formula may be helpful in reducing the sound level and dizziness. There are many clinical studies showing Ginkgo biloba (the primary ingredient in ATF) is effective in lowering the sound level of tinnitus and reducing dizziness.

It is necessary to use Arches Tinnitus Formula for three months before you can get the full effectiveness of the product. We recommend Arches Tinnitus Starter Kit, a full three-month supply of four bottles.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

March 2021 Ask Barry

Inner Ear Spasm or Pulsatile Tinnitus?

Hi Barry,

A physical therapist gave me the following information. Is this true?

“Muscle spasms in the inner ear can tense up (spasm) which can result in tinnitus, hearing loss and a feeling of fullness in the ear.” And “ In rare cases, tinnitus is caused by a blood vessel disorder. This type of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus.”

This physical therapist wants me to see another therapist who specializes in helping to relieve ear ringing. I don’t know what to do, and I don’t someone hurting me further.

Your thoughts please.
Teresa M.

Dear Teresa,

Thanks you for sending these questions.

Both statements you quoted are mostly correct but they refer to two different types of tinnitus.

Muscle spasm in the middle ear can result in tinnitus, hearing loss and fullness. Please note these are muscles in the middle ear between the eardrum and cochlea. There are no muscles in the inner ear, which is the cochlea. These muscles connect to the eardrum and as they spasm a doctor can actually observe the eardrum moving.

This is called Middle Ear Myoclonus and usually produces thumping, clicking or buzzing sounds. Sometimes it can sound like a typewriter. Treatment options include acupuncture, biofeedback and sometimes the use of anti-anxiety medication.

In the case of pulsatile tinnitus, a blood vessel disorder, such as blockage or twisting can cause the problem. The blood becomes turbulent and causes a whooshing or pulsing sound in synch with the heartbeat. There are several possible causes of this but the result is always turbulent blood flow.

In most cases a vascular surgeon can identify the cause of the turbulence and successfully treat it. Please see our article on Pulsatile Tinnitus.

It should be fairly easy to determine if you have one of these conditions. In one the doctor can observe the eardrum moving. In the other the sound corresponds to your heartbeat.

Both of these conditions are fairly rare. The majority of tinnitus cases are due to hearing loss. In this case Arches Tinnitus Formula can be helpful in reducing the sound level and aggravation of tinnitus.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

The Tinnitus Formula Pedigree

Dear Barry,

Hope this message finds you well.

My Questions:

– Are the ingredients in Arches Tinnitus supplement USP tested / USP grade?

– Which countries do the ingredients come from?

– Can this work for tinnitus caused by either ototoxic substances and/or hearing loss?

Very much appreciate your kind answers,

Best regards,
Pierre Q.

Dear Pierre,

The ingredients in Arches Tinnitus products are United States Pharmacopeia (USP) tested and certified. This falls under the FDA’s current Good Manufacturing Practices. Our California manufacturer is an FDA approved and monitored facility. As such, they are inspected and audited by the FDA on a regular basis.

All incoming raw product is analyzed and certified to meet cGMP and to have the minimum amounts and quality we have specified. After the manufacture, the completed product is analyzed again and a Certificate of Analysis is sent to us for every batch we receive. Please see the attachment.

In order to meet cGMP requirements, we are then obligated to send samples of each batch to an independent, third-party FDA approved laboratory for analysis and confirmation. Only then do our products go on the market and shipped to customers.

All components are supplied by US sources, which, also must meet cGMP requirements. The exception is the Ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo is native to China and they are the largest supplier of Ginkgo biloba extract in the world. But not all ginkgo extracts are alike. Our ginkgo is sourced from organically grown trees in China and harvested without harsh chemicals like many other ginkgoes. Our Ginkgo Max 26/7 is a proprietary extract which, contains a minimum of 26% ginkgo flavone glycosides and 7% terpene lactones (versus the standardized 24/6 ), and is the highest concentrations found in any ginkgo product. Our ginkgo is also analyzed as it comes to our manufacturer to ensure this is the minimum. Actual percentages are higher, as you can see from the Certificate of Analysis.

Interestingly, you are the first to enquire about USP testing in our 22-year history of being in business, so thanks.

Our products are designed specifically for people who have tinnitus due to hearing loss. One prominent Manhattan ENT has stated 75-80% of his tinnitus patients who have it due to hearing loss are successful in lowering their tinnitus level. Ototoxic medications cause hearing loss leading to tinnitus.

It does take time and we recommend using Arches Tinnitus Formula Starter Kit for three months before you can expect the full effects. We have created Arches Tinnitus Starter Kit at a reduced price. This includes a 3-month supply of the Tinnitus Formula.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

Did ED Meds help his Tinnitus?

Hi Barry

I have had tinnitus since 2010. In 2014 I was in Colombia with my wife. My wife bought a Cialis tablet. I took the tablet and as a side effect the hissing sound almost completely disappeared.

I thought I discovered a treatment for this hissing sound, and after 2 – 3 days slowly the hissing sound came back. When I got home in Amsterdam and checked the internet for Cialis in relation to tinnitus. Much to my horror I only find negative stories about Viagra and tinnitus.

Since then I am scared to try again and still hear the hissing sound. Have you ever heard an equal story about Cialis in relation to tinnitus?

I am a former user of your product. Is it recommendable to use your product lifelong? Do you think it can prevent tinnitus?


Dear Bas,

Yes, it is true that Cialis and Viagra can cause tinnitus. However, this is fairly rare, occurring in 0.1 to 1% of people. Most do not get tinnitus from these drugs. I have used them fairly often in the past with no problem.

However, what they do to all people is lower blood pressure. In fact, Viagra was initially developed as a drug to lower blood pressure before they found this other side effect, better erections.

It appears that lowering your blood pressure has the effect of also lowering your tinnitus. This makes sense as high blood pressure worsens tinnitus.

I would not worry too much and would continue with the Cialis. If your tinnitus does worsen, stop using it immediately and the tinnitus should recede. You can also combine it with NAC and/or Arches Tinnitus Formula, which protect the neurons in the inner ear and help prevent tinnitus.

People who achieve tinnitus reduction with Arches Tinnitus Formula usually continue using it consistently over many years. It is possible to reduce the dosage and still get the desired effect. We do not recommend reducing the dosage below 1/2 the recommended dosage on the label.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

February 2021 Ask Barry

The COVID Vaccine and Tinnitus

Hi Barry,

I was wondering if you can comment on the possible ototoxicity of the COVID vaccine or is it too soon to tell? If those of us have had problems with hearing loss and increase in tinnitus from the flu shot in the past, would you recommend that we did NOT get the COVID vaccine? Are there similarities?

I realize COVID itself can possibly cause hearing loss, tinnitus and dizziness as can the medicine used to treat it. It’s a real dilemma.

Thank you,

Dear Jory,

I cannot comment on this because I don’t know. There has not been any research I’m aware of that indicates whether or not the vaccine causes tinnitus. I believe it acts a lot like the flu vaccine. I’m surprised you have had a problem with the flu vaccine. It’s the first I’ve heard.

I would not advise you to avoid the COVID vaccine(s). You can prepare yourself by taking antioxidants before and after the vaccine. I recommend 1,000 mg NAC, taken twice daily. Magnesium is also been shown to prevent hearing loss and tinnitus. Take a good quality product, not magnesium oxide but one chelated for easier absorption. Magnesium aspartate or magnesium citrate are good products. Take about 400 mg twice daily. Start two weeks before the vaccination and continue for a month afterward.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

When your child has severe tinnitus…


We have tried many things over the last 7-8 months (including Arches and Lipoflavonoid) and unfortunately my son’s tinnitus has reached a point where he has been suicidal on occasion. He has other ailments but tinnitus is the driver that gets him to hopelessness.

He also suffers from OCD and anxiety and you had a good article about reducing stress and anxiety I shared with him. He knows he will probably feel better if he can reduce anxiety but, unfortunately, it’s not an on-off button. He can’t seem to get results from therapy and meditation. He’s even in a three-hour-per-day intensive program now.

His psychiatrist wants to prescribe Prozac (and his ENT said he’s not worried about that) but I remember reading that you cited it and other SSRIs as a potential cause of increased ringing but that article is kind of old now. Have you seen new research about drugs that can reduce anxiety without boosting the tinnitus? He takes mertazapine but he needs something else.

Sorry for this long note but I know you read all the studies carefully so I wonder if you have advice for us.


Dear Matthew,

I’m so sorry your son is suffering so much. Tinnitus can be multifaceted and many things play into it. I know his anxiety is making it much worse but, you’re right, it’s not an on-off button and his tinnitus is also worsening his anxiety.

I’m not totally down on SSRI antidepressants but they can worsen a number of things. There are a couple of hundred potential side effects. They cause or worsen tinnitus in about 10% of people so your son may not be affected. If he starts getting worse tinnitus, stop immediately. I hope he is helped by it. He could also take NAC along with the Prozac. NAC helps protect the ears. It’s cheap and easily found. I recommend 1,000 mg twice daily.

There is another way to increase serotonin in the brain. L-Tryptophan and 5-HTP are dietary supplements that actually create serotonin, where SSRI antidepressants only keep existing serotonin active for a longer time. As they are supplements, they’re not as strong as prescription medications and may not help. But they may.

Do not combine these supplements with Prozac! There is a potentially deadly side effect, called Serotonin Syndrome, which can occur. If you want to try the supplements, try them first, then the Prozac if they don’t help.

There is also a medical treatment called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that’s used in many advanced clinics. This trains the brain to stop reacting negatively to the tinnitus sound. It is effective on many people and your son may be doing some of it in his therapy sessions.

Acupuncture can help the anxiety. If the anxiety goes down, the tinnitus does too. My wife had an acupuncture treatment and came home so relaxed she could barely walk. It lasted a few days. Don’t discount acupuncture. It can be combined with any other therapy.

Biofeedback is used in several major tinnitus clinics. Its a computer-based therapy that allows people to learn how to control various body functions like, blood pressure, heart rate, skin temperature and stress. It takes some time but can be astoundingly effective. The patient slowly learns the trick of going into a state where these can be accomplished. People can actually increase the heat in one hand while leaving the other normal. They can decrease heart rate and blood pressure.

This is a lot but I hope something in here will work. A last thought; people typically find that over the years they habituate to their tinnitus and it becomes more bearable. The brain cannot continue to exist in a state of panic. It will eventually relent and become used to the sound. When they do, tinnitus typically becomes less of a problem.

I hope your son improves greatly,
Barry Keate

Are there allergens in Ginkgo?

Hi Barry,

I just read that Ginkgo has alkylphenols in it, and the article said that people who are highly allergic to poison ivy should avoid taking Ginkgo. Is this true?

Jane L.

Dear Jane,

This is partially true. Ginkgo biloba does contain alkyphenols, the primary one being ginkgolic acid, which is an allergen and “can” produce allergic reactions like poison ivy. However, most reputable manufacturers remove this during the extraction process. The German Commission E standard for ginkgo extracts requires there be less than 5 ppm (parts per million) ginkgolic acid. Some less than reputable manufacturers don’t remove it.

Arches Tinnitus Formula uses our proprietary ginkgo extract Ginkgo Max 26/7, which contains less than 1 ppm ginkgolic acid. This means it is non-detectable. For greater detail you can view our entire Certificate of Analysis.

Wishing you quiet times,
Barry Keate

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